Happy Holidays and thanks for your support in 2010
For 12 years, hookah divers have been killing the reef fish in the Sea of Cortez. By 2007 there were few fish left. In 2007 Sea Watch attorneys sponsored a federal regulation “prohibiting hookah use for fish extraction in all Mexican waters.” It was enacted in May of 2009. Now, no compressed air (hookah or tanks) can be used to extract any fin fish in any Mexican waters. Watch Video of the destruction.
2010 was a year Sea Watch devoted to involvement with the vigilance program that it helped start and fund in 2009. It is called Observatorio Ciudadano (OC, Citizen Observers). In its first year of operation it has been successful beyond what many imagined and you can see more fish on every reef around the Bay of La Paz.
In the last year, in the La Paz area where OC patrols work, conservative estimates put the decrease in illegal activity at 80% .
That translates into the minimum tonnage of reef fish saved from being illegally shot at night (pistoleros) or netted using hookah during the day (encerradores) at 500 plus tons. See some of the latest short videos showing the dramatic return of fish. Fish returning to Islotes, Fish returning to San Diego Island
OC patrols, advanced communication and reporting techniques, follow up, and publicity has been a catalyst for new governmental and civil society involvement. OC’s operational success is now a model for addressing similar problems in other areas of Mexico.
OC has triggered a unique government-society collaboration effort that had never taken place before, by doing the work for the authorities it has initiated a new and different relationship in which the authorities feel more obligated to participate.
The OC program, with former pistoleros running the patrol boat has facilitated a relationship with illegal fisherman that has enabled Plataforma to understand motives and offer economic alternatives, a major part of the programs success.
Read the executive summary of the
Observatorio Ciudadano Annual Report
(Prepared for SeaWatch)
HELP US HELP THE SEA
Over 500 tons of reef fish saved this year deserves your support. OC operates on a very small budget with no overhead, so you can rest assured that 100% of your donation goes directly to paying the costs of fuel and the salaries for the three patrol boat operators (approximately $1200/week). Visit the La Paz area and see for yourself how this program is making a difference each week in the health of local reef ecosystems by encouraging compliance, sustainability and cooperation.
We truly appreciate your support.