Dolphins are closely linked to the capture of tuna and the adequate protection of the former has a profound impact on the tuna trade
Mexico initiated methods of study of dolphin populations in the Pacific Ocean based on last generation drones to obtain images of quantity and density of the species.
These innovative methods are aligned with the agreements imposed by international organizations in relation to the certification of sustainable fishing in the capture of Mexican tuna
Our country, through the National Institute of Fisheries and Aquaculture (Inapesca) announced the mission carried out by the fishing and oceanographic research vessel “Dr. Jorge Carranza Fraser ”, from November 17 to December 1 of this year.
This vessel has state-of-the-art technology that allows it to develop research lines in acoustics, fishing, bathymetry and oceanography, among others.
During the third ordinary session of the Inapesca Government Board, headed by the Secretary of Agriculture and Rural Development, Víctor Villalobos Arámbula, it was agreed that the results of the investigation will be public consultation.
Pablo Arenas Fuentes, director of Inapesca, explained that this dolphin research supports the request of the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) to have a study on the current situation of these aquatic mammals in the Pacific for continue with the certification of tuna fishing in Mexico.
It should be noted that the MSC is an independent global body and leader in establishing standards for sustainable fisheries.
Arenas explained that in August 2014 the Mexican tuna industry started an ecological certification process of its fishery before the MSC, which ended in September 2017.
On this date, the international organization granted the certificate of sustainable fisheries to the Pacific Alliance for Sustainable Tuna.
The two embargoes against Mexican tuna
Dolphin protection is linked to the tuna industry. In 2018, Conapesca reported that Mexico captures more than 100,000 tons of tuna per year, the result of an industry of 72,000 direct and indirect jobs.
In fact, the annual average of tuna between 2000 and 2016 was 144 thousand tons. But it was not always like that.
In 1980, Mexico decided to stop foreign vessels fishing in the Exclusive Economic Zone.
The third in the world
According to reports by the specialist Martín Téllez Castañeda, the reaction of the United States in July of that same year was to impose a tuna embargo that prohibited the importation of tuna from Mexico into that country.
At that time, Mexico represented the third Mexican tuna industry in the world, with 46 purse seiners and six vareros, with a capture capacity of more than 62 thousand tons.
According to information from Genoveva Portilla, at that time 90 percent of the US tuna catch was made in exclusive areas of other countries.
This first embargo, which ended in August 1986, contracted the national tuna industry, however, starting this year, Mexico opened markets in European countries such as Tin, England, France, Germany and Italy.
The second blockade had its origin in the detriment of the North American tuna industry, a country that under the conservationist argument that maintained that the capture of Mexican tuna exceeded the limits of incidental death of dolphins.
In 1990 a judge from California ordered the blockade of Mexican tuna imports from Mexico.
This, under the argument that the Mexican industry killed about 20 thousand dolphins a year for its “insecure methods” of capture.
A combination of economic interests with conservation intentions, in this case of dolphins, supported and strengthened the embargo.
A “rivet” to the embargo
The blockade worsened when the United States decreed a secondary embargo.
This was aimed at those countries that compared tuna to Mexico as intermediaries to sell it to the North American country.
The strategy had greater reach when several companies such as the Starkist, supported by the Earth Island Institute, published the “dolphin safe” label.
This proclamation announced that the company would buy, process or sell tuna that had been caught through the incidental death of dolphins.
This second embargo represented a blow to the national tuna industry as it cost Mexico losses of 150 million dollars.
Officially, the lifting of the embargo was in 2004, when the US Department of Commerce terminated the ban.
Legal disputes did not end and Mexican tuna continued to receive discrimination from the United States.
In April 2015, one more chapter was registered in what is considered “the longest international trade and environment dispute”.
The World Trade Organization ruled in favor of Mexico and against the United States for the “unfair discrimination of Mexican tuna.”
The environmental seal
Specifically, it referred to the certification, tracking and verification processes necessary to obtain the “dolphin safe” label.
“On that same date, the compliance panel discovered that although the United States denies the dolphin-safe label to the caught tuna ‘making sets on’ dolphins, which involves enclosing the dolphins with a net to catch the tuna that swims below) and imposes different requirements for certification, tracking and verification of fisheries within the PTO, these were not linked to a legitimate regulatory distinction and were inequitable.
Tuna industry today
At present, the tuna industry produces 97.5 million cans of tuna per month.
This production benefits, according to Conapesca data to 115 million people in Mexico and Central America.
Our country has endeavored to comply with international guidelines and obtain other certifications.
Such is the case of the Pacific Alliance for Sustainable Tuna certificate granted by the MSC in 2017.
Certificate and periodic audits
This certification, said Pablo Arenas Fuentes, allows companies to access more competitive international markets.
This impacts positively on the development of the Mexican tuna industry.
“Once the certificate is obtained, he added, the MSC conducts periodic audits of certified fishing companies»
“This, to verify that continuous improvements are made in fishing practices,” said Arenas Fuentes.
“It asks, for example, studies that inform about the impact that is generated on species associated with fishing, and the attention to these requests is essential to maintain the certificate, he concluded.
They recognize Mexico in bluefin tuna fishing system
Tuna. The Mexican tuna industry has behaved with a remarkable responsibility, as was done publicly at the meeting, said the inter-American agency
The Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission recognized Mexico’s work in the management of bluefin tuna in the Pacific.
The Government of Mexico obtained international recognition from the member countries of the Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission (CIAT) because in a few months, with the support of the current direction of the National Commission of Aquaculture and Fisheries (Conapesca), it has developed a work effective to achieve the bluefin tuna fishery management in the Eastern Pacific Ocean (EPO).
«An orderly fishery»
During the annual meeting of the IATTC, held in Bilbao, Spain, the Mexican Delegation headed by the National Commissioner for Aquaculture and Fisheries, Raúl Elenes Angulo, received congratulations from the member nations of the international organization “for the work being done to count with an orderly fishery directed towards healthy markets ”.
The general director of Planning, Programming and Evaluation of Conapesca, Bernardino Muñoz Reséndez, informed that for years the tuna fishery had been characterized by disorder, lack of control and disdain.
Currently, he said, Mexico came to the meeting with its head held high due to the performance that has been developed in the administration of President Andrés Manuel López Obrador.
He commented that, given this panorama, Conapesca is committed to continue the effort to maintain an activity in order, support and impulse towards the food sovereignty of our country, coordinating efforts with the tuna industry that is committed to this project of the Government of Mexico.
Analyze sustainable use of resources
At the meeting, fishery representatives from 21 countries analyzed the most effective mechanisms for conservation and sustainable use of marine resources in the fishery for tunas and species caught by tuna vessels.
The Conapesca official explained that Mexico’s presence at the annual meeting of the IATTC is of the utmost importance.
And this, he explained, is because the attending countries defend the quota in tons of tuna that they are entitled to fish in the EPO, once the biomass in the area has been established.
“The distribution of the tons of fisheries that correspond to each country is determined according to each fishing effort, investment and fishing instruments it has,” he said.
They expose their productive activities
“That is the importance of being present. Every year, countries expose the defense of their productive activities ».
“There are no significant variations in terms of quotas because biomass does not increase,” he said.
It is important to note that in the EPO the entire fishery is developed in the presence of neutral observers.
Mexico also has a trust for them to attest that fishermen make sustainable fishing, he said.
Mexico rigorously applies fishing rules such as the use of nets that protect the dolphin, Muñoz Reséndez said.
Mexico “with a remarkable responsibility”
The observers confirm and the Mexican government has to attend these meetings to defend the good development of the fishery.
“The Mexican tuna industry has behaved with a remarkable responsibility, as was done publicly at the meeting,” he said.
He added: “As for the dolphin mortality that is practically zero,” he specified.
It should be considered that tuna fishing is one of the main industries or fisheries that our country develops.
He also has the responsibility to defend it because it is a food, employment and currency generating industry.
In addition, it is part of the policy developed by the federal administration as part of its Government policy in its Fourth Transformation.
This part has to do with food self-sufficiency aimed at producing what we consume.
He stressed that the protein future of Mexican food is at sea, in fishery species.
He added that the contribution of tuna and sardine is important so that families with fewer resources can consume foods with high nutritional content.
At CIAT, each member country has four commissioners authorized.
In the case of Mexico, he was represented by Commissioner Elenes Angulo and Muñoz Reséndez, by Conapesca.
Also Pablo Arenas Fuentes, general director of the National Institute of Fisheries and Aquaculture (lnapesca) and Luis Fletcher, representative of Mexico to the IATTC.
The IATTC is the regional fisheries agency, responsible for the conservation and management of tuna fisheries.
Also of other species caught by tuna vessels in the EPO.
He is also responsible for the scientific research of tuna stocks, on which the tuna industry depends.
The Mazatlan Post