Amberjack Yellowtail Sustainable Fishery in Mexico’s Northeast Region


Gulf of California Rocky Reef

Sustainable Fisheries

OBJECTIVE: To foster amberjack yellowtail (Seriola lalandi) sustainable fishery management in the northwest of Mexico, and to place this high-quality product in fair-trade markets.

Sustainable fisheries management is crucial to improving the health of marine species and ecosystems. In addition, it is necessary to promote the development of fair-trade markets that recognize and reward the effort and cost required for good fishery practices. In this manner, we can generate a regional fishery based on quality and not quantity, which will help to ensure the future of fishing communities.

With these objectives, COBI seeks to encourage sustainable yellowtail (Seriola lalandi) fishing in Mexico’s northwest region. At the beginning of 2014, the yellowtail fishery on Isla Natividad, Baja California Sur, was deemed sustainable (“Best Choice”) by the Seafood Watch program of the Monterey Bay Aquarium. This rating, combined with the application of fish management techniques onboard, improvements post-capture and the documentation of fishing activities, led to an alliance between COBI and SmartFish to sell yellowtail in high-value markets. We are seeking to replicate this yellowtail sustainable fishery model, which yields a high-quality product, to other communities in the northwest region.

We are currently collecting information about the yellowtail fishery in order to identify other communities where this model can be replicated, and to develop a management plan with a regional scope. Moreover, in partnership with Mexico’s National Autonomous University (UNAM), genetic analysis of the species is taking place in different communities, to identify banks present in the region. Once they have been identified, it will be possible to propose measures for population management.

COBI has identified two other yellowtail fisheries as potential places to begin working on sustainable practices: one in Puerto Libertad and the other on San Pedro Nolasco Island in Sonora. Currently, local fishery organizations are collaborating to carry out an analysis of the state of the fishing sector and identify areas of opportunity.

  • +5 tons of fish sold in gourmet markets, ever since the sustainable rating by the Seafood Watch program
  • X2: the price per yellowtail kilo doubled — leading to higher profits for the cooperative — thanks to an increase in quality and the rating by the Seafood Watch program
  • 8 supermarkets in Mexico City sell Isla Natividad’s sustainable yellowtail
  • Comité de pescadores de Puerto Libertad
  • Sociedad Cooperativa de Producción Pesquera Buzos y pescadores de la Baja California
  • Fishwise
  • Smartfish Rescate de Valor A.C.
  • Superama
  • Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México
Antonio Gómez

This project is constantly evolving, and your support is key to making an impact on marine conservation and sustainable fishery. The following list details our current project needs. You can also donate directly to COBI by contacting our donations team: Let’s all do our part!

  • Purchasers interested in working with communities developing sustainable products
  • Media interested in covering the history of yellowtail fishery
  • Donations and funding for yellowtail fishery monitoring in Mexico’s northwest region
  • Volunteers with relevant knowledge, skills, or experience
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