Preservation and Fishery Management Tools for Clam Resources in Puerto Libertad, Sonora

Gulf of California Rocky Reef

Sustainable Fisheries

OBJECTIVE: To implement a model for the sustainable use of clam fishery in Puerto Libertad that will inspire the improved management of this resource throughout the state of Sonora.

The economy of coastal communities in Sonora relies mainly on the use of different resources like finfish, blue crab and bivalves. To use these resources in a legal manner, fishers request permits from the National Commission of Aquaculture and Fisheries. There are two types of permits: a “promotion” permit (if fishing practices are relatively new and need to be assessed) and a “commercial” permit (if the fishing practice has already been evaluated). These permits form part of a great variety of tools for fisheries management, and they are used to ensure the responsible use of species of interest.

Traditional fishery management tools like permits, bans and minimum sizes of capture have been used for years with the purpose of regulating fishery efforts. However, these tools are not enough to ensure sustainability, mainly because they have a very specific focus, and there is not enough inspection and monitoring of fisheries.

This situation has led to the need to supplement traditional management tools with less traditional tools like fees and fishery refuge zones. By encouraging the use of a wide range of tools, we hope the ecosystem will become better managed, thus fostering robust community economies. Cooperatives like Los Pulpos de Don Camerino, Mojarra del Arrecife and Los Rezagados de Puerto Libertad, in collaboration with COBI, have contributed to this project by working actively with government agencies on the design and management of the use of the clam resource in Puerto Libertad, Sonora.

In 2015, use permits for chocolate clam (Megapitaria squalida) and red clam (Cytherea chione) were approved for three cooperatives in the region. These authorizations include the following conditions: cooperatives must share shoals (684 hectares), the quota was divided into equal parts for each of the cooperatives; fishing effort will be performed by two vessels per cooperative; the ban and minimum size rules will be the same as those for the rest of the Gulf of California; and there must be a marine recovery zone of 307 hectares. These permits are the first ones authorizing legal fishery of clam in the region, and they include several traditional and non-traditional management tools.

  • 5 clam permits (three chocolate clam and two red clam)
  • 27 partners, including women
  • 1st assessment for quotas
  • 1 assessment for a new fishing shoal
  • Comisión Nacional de Acuacultura y Pesca
  • Instituto Nacional de Acuacultura y Pesca
  • Subdelegación de pesca adscrito al Estado de Sonora
  • Subsecretaria de Pesca y Acuacultura del Estado de Sonora

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 reporting on the history of clam fishery in Puerto Libertad
  • Donations and funding for monitoring clam fishery in Puerto Libertad
  • Volunteers with relevant knowledge, skills, or experience


Subscribe to Newsletter