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Mexico fishermen scoff at governor's suggestion to switch to taxi driving by Kendal Blust October 22,2020   |  Source: Arizona Public Media

In an effort to protect the nearly extinct vaquita marina porpoise, Mexico has implemented increasingly restrictive fishing bans in the uppermost part of the Sea of Cortez, called the Upper Gulf of California. In September, new restrictions would make even the possession of prohibited nets illegal starting in late November. At the same time, payments meant to ease the burden on fishermen stopped two years ago when President Andrés Manuel López Obrador took office.

Now, Baja California Gov. Jaime Bonillas has said he’ll help fishermen become taxi drivers as a work alternative, adding that fishermen would only have to pass a drug test and pay about $650 in fees to access the needed permits.

But Lorenzo Garcia says there’s no market for hundreds of new taxi drivers in a small town like San Felipe, where he heads a local fishermen's federation.

"They're going to give us 600 taxis in San Felipe," he said with a laugh. "I don't see that as a real option."

Instead, he said, fishermen in the upper gulf will continue using their nets, unless government officials can provide a reasonable alternative. Fishermen in this region, he said, have repeatedly agreed to consider alternative options to the gillnets they currently use to catch shrimp and other fish. But the options

 

© Arizona Board of Regents

Theme(s): Fisheries Resources.

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