Conservation and Sustainable Management Tools in Isla San Pedro Nolasco, Sonora

Gulf of California Rocky Reef

Marine Reserves

OBJECTIVE: To maintain marine resources in good condition in the waters surrounding San Pedro Nolasco Island, using legal management and conservation tools developed by residents.

San Pedro Nolasco Island is a very important site for the county of Guaymas, Sonora. It is an island acknowledged regionally thanks to its ichthyofauna and the availability of fishery resources for sport and commercial fishing, thus making it a popular spot for fishers. Its beautiful landscape, its marine biodiversity, and an important colony of sea lions (Zalophus californianus) in the coastal zone, as well as the presence of several megafauna species in the contiguous area, make this place a quite attractive destination for the development of ecotourism activities. The terrestrial part of the island forms part of the Flora and Fauna Protection Area in the Gulf of California of the National Commission of Natural Protected Areas (CONANP); however, the contiguous waters are not yet protected.

San Pedro Nolasco Island’s resources are being affected by issues caused by its multi-sector use. Therefore, COBI and CONANP began an initiative to promote sustainable management and conservation of the island. The project is divided in four stages.

During the first stage (2011-2012) we implemented a participative monitoring system. This monitoring was carried out by CONANP along with fishers from La Manga – the main users of the island – and the cooperative Grupo de Monitoreo Submarino y Análisis de Cambio Climático (from Bahía de Kino, Sonora). We developed a baseline set of biophysical, socio-economic and governance indicators.

The second stage (2012-2013) consisted of an analysis of the baseline indicators, to develop a common vision of conservation targets, sustainable management, main threats and conservation strategies.

In the third stage (2013-2014), a zoning proposal was developed, and the Support Committee for San Pedro Nolasco Island was created, along with a Nucleus Group. The Committee is comprised of the sport fishing, commercial and industrial fishing sectors, the tourism industry, government officials, and civil society organizations. The Nucleus Group is comprised of representatives of the local, state and federal government who review and select conservation and sustainable management tools.

In the fourth stage (2014-2015), we identified the management tools, and georeferenced the area in the zoning proposal. In 2015, we started the process of submitting technical proposals to the National Commission of Aquaculture and Fishing and to the CONANP, to establish three temporary fishing refuge zones (138.89 hectares in total) and a marine protected area (5,592.76 hectares), respectively.

Today, two management tools are in the process of being formalized, and the Support Committee for San Pedro Nolasco Island is still seeking strategies for the conservation and sustainable use of its resources. COBI continues to train fishers at La Manga to empower them with the leadership and monitoring tools they need.

  • 1 zoning proposal designed and approved by users
  • 2 management and conservation tools selected: a fishing refuge of 138.89 hectares and a protected marine area of 3,592.76 hectares
  • 1 support Committee for San Pedro Nolasco Island formed by 15 key actors from 6 sectors: fishing (sports, coastal and industrial), tourism, academia and civil society organizations
  • 2 technical proposals under review by government agencies
  • Alianza de Armadores y Ribereños por un Nuevo Sonora, A.C.
  • Aliso y Transportes en las Bahías
  • Área de Protección de Flora y Fauna Islas del Golfo de California
  • Ayuntamiento de Guaymas
  • Cámara Nacional de la Industria Pesquera
  • Centro de Investigación en Alimentación y Desarrollo, A.C.
  • Centro Regional de Investigación Pesquera (CRIP) en Guaymas
  • Comisión de Ecología y Desarrollo Sustentable del Estado de Sonora
  • Comisión de Fomento al Turismo
  • Comisión Nacional de Pesca y Acuacultura
  • El Mar Diving Center
  • Hotel Playa San Carlos
  • Instituto de Acuacultura del Estado de Sonora
  • Marina San Carlos
  • Oficina de Convenciones y Visitantes (OCV) Unidad Guaymas
  • Pesca Deportiva Trafico Interior
  • Procuraduría Federal de Protección al Ambiente
  • Sindicato de Patrones, Motoristas y Marineros de Embarcaciones de Pesca Deportiva Trafico Interior Aliso y Transportes en las Bahías de Guaymas
  • Sociedad Cooperativa de Producción Pesquera El Mirador de la Manga
  • Sociedad Cooperativa de Producción Pesquera La Manga Restaurante Doña Rosa
  • Sociedad Cooperativa de Producción Pesquera . R y A. La Kalita
  • SAGARHPA – Subsecretaria de Pesca y Acuacultura del Estado de Sonora
  • Secretaría de Comunicaciones y Transportes – Capitanía de Puerto en Guaymas
  • Secretaria de Marina – Cuarta Región Naval
  • Secretaría de Medio Ambiente y Recursos Naturales
  • Unión Regional Pesquera – Guaymas Empalme
Fernanda Pérez Alarcón

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!

  • Media interested in highlighting the implementation of an ecosystem approach to artisanal fisheries
  • Donations and funding for the assessment of indicators (biophysical, socioeconomic and governance) from fishing refuge zones in San Pedro Nolasco Island
  • A boat to monitor fishing refuge zones
  • Volunteers with relevant knowledge, skills, or experience
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