Protection and Monitoring of Fish Reproductive Aggregation Sites in Punta Allen, Quintana Roo

Mesoamerican Coral Reef

Marine Reserves

OBJECTIVE: To monitor and protect reproductive aggregation sites of commercially and/or ecologically important species, in partnership with the community.

In Punta Allen, COBI is carrying out community monitoring activities in reproductive aggregation sites with Vigía Chico Cooperative. This monitoring consists of finding sites where species that are commercially and ecologically important, like groupers and snappers, are added once or twice a year, during certain lunar phases, to carry out reproduction. In some cases, reproductive aggregations can be subject to overfishing, as they allow for important captures with reduced effort.

The process is divided into three main phases. The first one consists of collecting empirical data from fishers, because in some cases, they have fished in these sites.

The second step is to carry out bathymetry with single-frequency eco sounders to generate 3-D seabed maps, in order to collect information that helps predict reproduction sites. The last and most important step is the visual confirmation of reproductive aggregation sites. For that step, it is necessary to dive to considerable depths. It is important to note that monitoring activities for data collection are carried out by fishers trained to perform this task.

Two sites have been confirmed to be places where grouper species are aggregated for reproduction, so the Vigía Chico Cooperative is currently in the process of establishing fishing refuges there to protect them from commercial fishing.

  • 1 application for the establishment of two fishing refuges
  • 3,211 total hectares proposed for the fishing refuges
  • 6 fishers trained as monitoring divers
  • 3 work campaigns to carry out monitoring
  • 1 PADI specialty course created for ARP divers
  • 2 sites verified as reproductive aggregation sites
  • Alianza Kanan Kay
  • Fundación OAK
  • S.C.P.P. Cooperativa Pescadores de Vigía Chico
  • Fundación SUMMIT
  • Alianza WWF-FCS
Jacobo A. Caamal

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 covering the site protection project for reproductive aggregations in Punta Allen
  • Donations and funding for submarine monitoring in Punta Allen
  • Financial consulting on how to create a community savings fund for marine conservation and sustainable fishing that would ensure the long-term financial viability of the project
  • Volunteers with relevant knowledge, skills, or experience
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