bycatch of the artisanal shrimp fishery in the gulf

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bycatch of the artisanal shrimp fishery in the gulf
BYCATCH OF THE ARTISANAL SHRIMP FISHERY IN THE GULF OF
CALIFORNIA (SONORA AND SINALOA) MEXICO
Report prepared by Alejandro Balmori Ramírez (INAPESCA, CRIP-Guaymas) and Rufino Morales
Azpeitia (CIBNOR-Unidad Guaymas), in collaboration with Everardo Miranda Mier and Jesús Guadalupe
Padilla Serrato.
Guaymas, Sonora, México. June 2012
Summary
One of the most important fishing resources in Mexico is shrimp, this is due to its high economic and
social value. Nonetheless, many non-target species are captured incidentally during shrimp-fishing
activities, and grouped as faunal companions or shrimp bycatch (SBC). Most of the SBC species have
not been studied and the impact of this fishery upon them is yet unknown. This document presents the
results of a study on the artisanal shrimp fisheries’ bycatch within the bays of Guaymas, Bahía de Lobos,
and El Tóbari, in the State of Sonora; and in Santa Maria La Reforma in the State of Sinaloa, during the
2011–2012 shrimp fishing season. The study collected shrimp and SBC samples, identified the
organisms to the species level, and recorded biological sampling (biometrics). Logbook data and
sampling information was captured in a database. We documented 854 fishing hauls for all of the bays.
SBC analysis shows a total composition of 46 identified species belonging to different taxonomic groups
such as fishes, crustaceans, gastropods, and elasmobranchs, and an additional 10 species identified to
the genus level only. The most diverse group was that of bony fishes and the most dominant species was
the swimming crab (Callinectes spp.). The amount of SBC species varied spatially (lagoon system).
During the shrimping activity, a high percentage (20-30%) of negative fishing hauls (i.e., without any SBC
captures) was recorded, indicating that the artisanal shrimp fishery does not generate any bycatch in a
third of all fishing hauls. The SBC shrimp ratio average for all bays was 1:0.5, and ranged from 1:0.28 to
1:10.5 — a lower proportion than the reported ratios of 1:8 (Amezcua et al. 2006) and 1:22 (Suenaga
2010). SBC species are mostly discarded (75%), with only some species being retained (25%), and these
are used for their commercial value and for family consumption (e.g., sand bass (Paralabrax
maculatofasciatus), sierra (Scomberomorus sierra), seabass (Cynoscion spp.), mojarras (Eucinostomus
spp.), and swimming crabs (Callinectes spp.)). Regarding species under special protection, only one
individual of Mycteroperca jordani was captured, a species classified as endangered according to the
IUCN, although its frequency of occurrence is 0.003 per thousand fishing hauls. We concluded that the
impacts of the artisanal shrimp fishery upon the SBC are low, due to the low amount of bycatch that is
generated, the low ratio of the capture to SBC species, and the lack of presence of threatened or
endangered species in the SBC. Finally, it is recommended to continue studying the SBC during other
fishing seasons and to analyze the population dynamics of the dominant species to determine the health
status of these populations, since they may be indicative of impacts.
INTRODUCTION
In Mexico, fishing is important because of its annual production volume of about 1.5 million metric tons
and the number of people who depend on it directly or indirectly (SAGARPA 2007). However, when any
resource is fished, the capture includes non-target species, commonly known as faunal bycatch (FBC).
The shrimp bycatch (SBC) represents the species of flora and fauna that are not a target of this fishery,
and is known throughout the world as "bycatch" or as "non-target" species (FAO 1997).
Global estimates of SBC range from 5 to 16 million metric tons, with shrimp fisheries generating the
highest incidental catch volumes, with a ratio of shrimp to SBC of about 1:5 in temperate or subtropical
waters and of 1:10 in tropical areas (FAO 1999). It is estimated that annually between 3 and 7.5 million
metric tons of SBC are discarded in the world (Allsop 1977, Morgan and Chuenpagdee 2003, and
Kelleher 2005). In particular, the offshore shrimp trawling fishery, with larger vessels, contributes to the
bycatch problem due to the fishing system used: the trawl net. Although bycatch is also captured by
smaller boats (pangas) using other fishing gear such as cast nets, trawl nets (“change” nets), suripera
nets, and gillnets (Amezcua et al. 2006; SEMARNAP, INAPESCA 2000).
Fishing activities are particularly striking in a marine environment, directly affecting almost all habitats
except for the deep sea, where no fishing takes place. Even with the more restrictive management
practices enforced today, fisheries can have deep impacts on the marine environment, ranging from
overexploitation of species due to extraction, to incidental capture problems, habitat alteration, genetic
changes in populations, and affecting the structure of food webs (Anonymous, 2000).
The problem of bycatch has gained importance in recent decades, and viable solutions have been
sought, ever since the FAO Technical Conference on Fishery Products was held in Tokyo in 1973, and
later the conference of the International Research Center for Development in held Bangkok in 1974
(Pérez-Mellado et al. 1982). Since then and until the present, there have been a series of international
workshops in search for solutions.
Shrimp is one of the most important resources due to its high economic value, generating trade income
for the country and supplying a source of employment. Some estimate it creates 37,000 jobs (SAGARPA,
2006). However, shrimp fishing is strongly criticized for its high SBC capture rates. In the Gulf of
California, the SBC captured by fishing vessels comprises approximately 242 benthic-demersal fish
species, as well as crustaceans, mollusks, and echinoderms, with fish being the dominant group (NavaRomo 1994, López-Martínez et al. 2010, Madrid-Vera et al. 2010). Only a few of the SBC species have
been studied (López-Martínez et al. 2007, Rábago Quiroz et al. 2008, González-Ochoa et al. 2009,
Arzola-Sotelo 2010, Morales-Azpeitia et al. 2011).
Fishing vessels contribute between 60 and 70% of the total shrimp production, operating with two trawl
nets with an average length of 95 feet (Heredia-Quevedo 2001). These nets are distinguishable by their
lack of selectivity, since they capture large volumes of fish, crustaceans, and mollusks (López-Martínez et
al. 2000, 2007, Alverson et al. 1996; Pérez-Mellado 1998).
The artisanal Sonoran vessels that fish for shrimp in the riverside zone mainly employ entanglement nets,
also known as “chinchorro de línea”; in the State of Sinaloa, fishermen employ a fishing gear known as
the “suripera”, whish is a modified cast net. Many SBC species are captured during these fishing
activities, but before this report, they had not been studied (Amezcua et al. 2006, Suenaga 2010). This
study will determine the specific composition of organisms caught in the artisanal shrimp fishery within the
main shrimping bays in the Gulf of California, particularly in the States of Sonora and Sinaloa.
Importance of the shrimp resource
Mexico has large areas of coastline, bays, and estuarine systems, all with great diversity of species.
Among the most important groups found in the region are crustaceans, the group to which penaeid
shrimps belong to (Leal-Gaxiola 1999). The shrimp fishery is one of the most important in the country,
generating a large number of jobs. It is also one of the products that finds a high price in the international
markets, generating high foreign exchange earnings for the country (Avila-Pardo 2001).
Currently, Mexico is among the world’s top ten shrimp producers (Gillett 2010). The Mexican shrimp
production yield in the year 2000 was of around 70,144 metric tons (MT), with 52% corresponding to the
Pacific coast’s production, and the states of Sonora and Sinaloa its main producers (Herrera-Valdivia
2002). Usually, only two species of shrimp are exploited, the blue shrimp (Litopenaeus stylirostris) and
the brown shrimp (Farfentepenaeus californiensis) (López-Martínez 2000).
The development of an artisanal fishery encourages the employment of large numbers of fishermen, who
are organized into cooperatives, creating opportunities for economic development in their coastal
communities; additionally, they produce food for human consumption, both locally and regionally.
Currently, however, the economic return from this fishery is considered at the point of a full collapse
(Cruz-Romero et al. 1996), due to lower catches and lower prices (Padilla-Serrato 2005).
Background
The shrimp resource is exploited by two fishing fleets, the first is composed of larger offshore vessels
(ship) and the second, known as the bay or artisanal fleet, consists of smaller panga-type boats. The
bays in the states of Sonora and Sinaloa maintain constant contact with the sea, and due to their higher
evaporation rates they have higher salinity conditions than the surrounding marine area. The dominant
species of shrimp in Sonora is the blue shrimp, Litopenaeus stylirostris (Hernandez-Carballo and Macías
1996), with 90% of the catches, and therefore the coastal fisheries in the state are of great importance
due to the higher market value of this species in the US market. This fishery is carried out during the
species' different life stages and within different bodies of water: one taking place within protected bodies
(bays and estuaries), in which artisanal-type fishing systems are used, and the other using larger offshore
vessels (García-Bourbon et al. 1996).
The shrimp fishery inside protected waters dates back to pre-Hispanic times, and it is the oldest in the
Mexico. The main states where this fishery is done are: Sinaloa, Sonora, Chiapas, Oaxaca, Nayarit, and
Baja California Sur (Hernandez-Carballo and Macías 1996). The fishery inside the lagoon systems of
Sonora is based in the southern part of the state, the most productive bays being: Guásimas, Lobos,
Huatabampo, Yávaros, and Agiabampo. The artisanal shrimping season starts in late August and early
September. This is known as the “bay shrimp fishing period,” and fishing can last between two and three
weeks, until it reaches 70% of its total production, with the most common tail-sizes being small (70–90
mm) and medium (95–105 mm); subsequently, all small vessels move to the shore area (deeper area), in
which larger organisms are captured (Herrera-Valdivia et al. 2002). Currently, this fishery has a
management scheme with an established fishing ban period from the month of April to September, but
the dates may vary according to the processes of mass spawning, growth, and the intensity of adult
recruitment within the fishing areas (Aragon-Noriega 2000).
Artisanal or near-shore fishing is done on “pangas” (small boats about 7 m in length on average, with an
outboard motor), right off the coastline at depths between 2 and 20 m. This is where most of the blue
shrimp (L. stylirostris) is caught, using entanglement nets with mesh sizes ranging from 2 to 2 ½ inches.
Suripera nets are used inside the bays, with mesh sizes between 1 ¼ and 1 ¾ inches, and are operated
with the aid of a sail or motor working against the currents. Entanglement nets are also used, with a mesh
size of 2 and 2 ¼ inches, as well as “atarraya” cast-nets. The efficiency and selectivity of the latter two
fishing gears is very high (Anonymous 1995). This fishery is usually based on the capture of juvenile
shrimp and is of enormous importance to fishermen in the months of August and September (MendezTenorio 2001).
Blue shrimp biology
These organisms are an important component of tropical marine and estuarine systems, where they are
found inhabiting the shallow areas of estuaries and down to depths ranging to 1000 meters on the
continental shelf (Garcia and Le Reste 1987). Their life cycle depends on estuarine systems for their
development and later they return to the open sea where they spend their adult and reproductive phases
(Fig. 1). This indicates that they are exposed to changing environments that affect their abundance and
the degree of this influence varies according to their development, thus their physiology is modified,
developing a certain faculty for osmoregulation. This is because they migrate to different biotopes
throughout their life cycle that are characterized by their salinity gradient (López-Martínez 2000).
Environmental changes can affect the reproductive dynamics of stocks, inducing changes in their
reproductive period (Leal-Gaxiola et al. 2001). Yields in the fishing season will depend on the
effectiveness of the annual class, and this in turn reflects in recruitment success (Garcia and Le Reste
1981). The postlarval phase is essential for recruitment with larval rearing conditions reflecting upon the
strength of the year’s class and these will in turn reflect upon catch volumes (Aragón-Noriega and Garcia-
Juarez 2002). Migration strategies and the effects of external factors on spawning success will help
project the capture trends in the following fishing season. Factors such as wind, currents, and postlarval
migration have an indirect influence on the success of a given year’s cohort, depending on the trajectories
they take and the habitat in which they are placed. If the larvae are carried off to places with little or
inadequate food sources, then spawning will fail; but under favorable environmental conditions it will
succeed (Sinclair 1988, Bakun 1996). The blue shrimp (L. stylirostris) is a crustacean whose larval stage
depends upon wetlands for breeding, spending up to two months of its life cycle inside them (Fig. 1). At
an individual level these organisms are partial spawners, but at the population level they are massive
spawners (Aragon-Noriega 2000, Lopez-Martinez 2000). This species is found from Punta Abreojos, Baja
California Sur, Mexico, to Tumbes, Peru, and it is not evenly represented along the coastline (Hendrickx
1995).
L. stylirostris has a sex ratio of 1:1 (Rodriguez de la Cruz 1981, Rabago-Quiroz 2000). Its breeding
season displays the same pattern as the spawning duration, but shrimp will mature first in Guaymas
(March), then in Puerto Peñasco (April). In both regions, spawning reaches a maximum in June and July.
The breeding season for blue shrimp in the Mexican Pacific coastline occurs from early March until
September, with a maximum peak in May and June. The length at first maturity has been reported
between 162 and 167 mm, at an age of 10 months (Rabago-Quiroz 2000). In its first larval stage, the
nauplius uses its own yolk reserves. In the laboratory, protozoea are fed with phytoplankton and the
mysis stage larvae are fed with zooplankton and phytoplankton. Juveniles and adults in the wild are
considered omnivorous or bottom feeders.
Figure 1. Life cycle of the Penaeid shrimp: a) eggs; b) nauplius; c) protozoea; d) mysis;
e) postlarva; f) juvenile; g) adult; h) breeder (Modified from Benfiel 1999).
GENERAL OBJECTIVES
To determine the impact of the artisanal blue shrimp fishery on incidental catch in the states of Sonora
and Sinaloa.
Specific objectives
• Determine the composition of the incidental catch
• Describe the retained bycatch
• Describe the discarded bycatch
• Describe the globally threatened species found in the incidental catch of this fishery
MATERIAL AND METHODS
Study Area
The area of study comprised the following coastal lagoons: the bays of Guaymas, El Tobari, and Bahía
de Lobos in the State of Sonora; and the bay of Santa Maria La Reforma in the State of Sinaloa. These
bays are the most important in terms of the coastal shrimp fishery. The Gulf of California (GoC), or Sea of
Cortez, is a marginal sea located in the Eastern Tropical Pacific Ocean. It is 1,400 km long, 200 km wide,
and 3,600 meters deep; its waters wash upon the mainland states of Sonora, Sinaloa, and Nayarit, and
also upon the states of Baja California and Baja California Sur on the Baja California Peninsula. The GoC
is a great basin ocean, with oceanographic features that are the product of its submarine physiography
and of the islands that are present in this region. The tides in the GoC are mainly caused by co-oscillation
with the tides of the Pacific Ocean, meaning that sea level variations in the Gulf are mainly due to
changes in sea level at the mouth of the Gulf, and not due to the gravitational pull of the sun and moon on
the Gulf’s waters. Oceanographic conditions are different in the upper and central Gulf of California
regions, because the islands act as ecological and physiographic barriers, leading to large planktonic
blooms that are the basis of the food chain involving large numbers of fish and shellfish, and, therefore,
many fisheries (Marinone and Lavin, 1997).
The GoC is divided into four regions: the Upper Gulf, the Northern region, the Southern region (which
houses the study site), and the Mouth area. The GoC’s varying topography and bathymetry creates
differences in the physical processes that control water circulation and its thermohaline structure
(Thomson et al. 1969, Lavin et al. 1997). The Southern region is the largest area with a relevant
bathymetric feature, the continental shelf on the peninsula’s side is almost nonexistent, but on the
continental side (coasts of Sonora and Sinaloa) it averages 30 km.
Bay of Guaymas-Empalme
The Bay of Guaymas is a coastal body of water separated physiographically from the Gulf of California by
a sandbar, communicating with the adjacent sea by means of a 1.2 km-wide mouth; its area measures
2
33.6 km and its average depth is 3 meters. It also has varied habitats, such as shallow waters, sandy
and rocky beaches, islands, coastal dunes, mangrove vegetation, and algae beds. It is also site of
breeding and rearing of shrimps, crabs, and various fish species, such as mullets, bass, and flounders. It
is also a feeding and resting place for waterfowl. The El Rancho estuary, the Empalme lagoon, and the
Bay of Guaymas, are one integrated lagoon system, which herein will be generically called the Bay of
Guaymas. It is located in the central portion of the eastern coast of the Gulf of California at 27o 55' N and
110o 53' W (Fig. 2).
Figure 2. Bays of Guaymas-Empalme and Guásimas, Sonora.
Bahía de Lobos
The Bahía de Lobos bay is located at the middle portion of the eastern coast of the Gulf of California, in
the southern part of the state of Sonora. It is located between 27° 18' and 27° 26' N and 110° 27' and
110° 36' W. The water surface area of this lagoon is about 11,800 ha. Isla Lobos, a sand bar that gives
this lagoon its shape, has a length of 17.5 km and an area of 1,950 ha. It has two permanent mouths:
Boca de las Piedras, known as the Northern mouth (Boca Norte), with a width of 2.4 km; and the
Southern Mouth (Boca Sur), which is 0.8 km wide. In the inner portion of the bay there are several deep
channels, large shallow areas, and mudflats, with plenty of marshes and intertidal channels (ArreolaLizarraga 1995).
Figure 3. Bahía de Lobos, Sonora
El Tóbari Bay
This coastal lagoon is located between 26° 54' and 27° 10' N and 109° 50' and 110° 24' W. The island of
Tóbari almost completely encloses this water body, communicating with the Burabampo estuary on its
southeast portion. The system comprises several water bodies, including the Ensenada of La Batea (7.7
ha), the Chilico estuary (1.1 ha), Giamora (65.9 ha), La Liebre (23.4 ha), La Pitahaya (50.7 ha), Tóbari
(6421.1 ha), the Ensenada El Gallo (29.9 ha), Punta Verde estuary (14.6 ha), El Conchalito (55.1 ha), El
Tobarito (1038.1 ha), La Peninsula (111.8 ha), La Pitahaya (93.5 ha), Cubula (118.6 ha), Cumora (13.6
ha), El Diablo (38.2 ha) and El Siari (190.7 ha). Its grand total measures 8,273 ha.
Figure 4. El Tóbari Bay, Sonora.
Santa María La Reforma Bay
This is a coastal lagoon, located in the central part of the state of Sinaloa, in the eastern Gulf of
California, located between 24° 50' and 25° 10' N and 107° 55' and 108° 20' W. It is separated from the
Gulf of California by a sandbar that extends from the beach called Isla Altamura, which results in two
mouths connecting with the sea at its ends, the first measuring 3.5 km wide and the second 3 km wide. It
displays a semidiurnal tidal regime with an annual range of 1.10 m.
Figure 5. Santa María La Reforma Bay, Sinaloa.
MATERIALS
Scales with an accuracy of 1 gr were used, as well as 1 mm precision rulers (ichtyometers), plastic bags,
ice coolers, labels, sampling formats, markers, and a freezer.
Information was obtained from various sources:
1. Exhaustive search of published literature on the relationship between SBC and shrimp in different
zones: global, the Pacific Ocean, and the Gulf of California.
2. Contents of the daily fishing logbooks, recorded by on-board observers, within the various bays of
Guaymas-Empalme, El Tobari, and Bahía de Lobos in Sonora; and in the Bay of Santa Maria La Reforma
in Sinaloa, during the Mexican Pacific shrimp fishing season from September to December of 2011.
The fishing gear used in the bays of Sonora were entanglement nets (known as “chinchorro de línea”)
with a length of 266 m and with an average height of 75 to 50 mesh-squares. From 2 to 3 of these
entanglement nets are used per boat, using different mesh sizes (2", 2 ¼", 2
3
/8" and 2 ½"). In the state of
Sinaloa, two suripera-type nets were used per vessel, each with a length of 14 m of headline and in mesh
sizes between 1 ¼ " and 1 ¾".
Shrimp and SBC were sampled. 5 kg shrimp (with head) samples were collected, and all of the SBC
obtained per fishing cast; the name of the capture zone, date, depth, the amount of shrimp caught, and
amount of SBC were all recorded. The SBC samples were separated by species and biometry was
performed on each organism (Nikolsky, 1963). The taxonomic identification of the species was performed
using the keys and descriptions of Jordan and Evermann (1896-1900), Meek and Hildebrand (19231928), Miller and Lea (1976), Eschmeyer et al. (1983), Fischer et al. (1995), Michael (1993), Schneider
(1995), Báerez (1996), De la Cruz-Aguero et al. (1997), and Allen and Robertson (2002).
RESULTS
During this study the chinchorro de linea fishing gear was used in the bays of Sonora, and in Sinaloa the
gear in use was the suripera net (Santa Maria La Reforma). From 20 to 30% of all fishing hauls had null
SBC incidence, which means that only the target species (blue shrimp) was captured, clearly indicating
that both types of gear do not capture any SBC in at least a third of their fishing hauls. Regarding the
suripera net, SBC catches remain constantly below 2 kg per day; however the chinchorro line captures up
to 100 kg of SBC in one day.
• Composition of the incidental catch within all the bays
Fifty-eight species of SBC were identified under this study, belonging to various taxonomic groups, such
as fish, elasmobranchs, crustaceans, and mollusks (gastropods), with the dominant group being fish
(Table I).
Table I. SBC species found in the artisanal shrimp fishery of the States of Sonora &
Sinaloa. ED= discarded species, ER= retained species (co: commercial) and EP= protection
status.
COMMON NAME
SCIENTIFIC NAME
# of
Orgs
Total
Weight
USE
(Kg)
Brown crab
Callinectes bellicosus
3602
2763.96
ER
Pacific anchoveta
Sea catfish
Cetengraulis mysticetus
2381
1192.18
ED
388
421.18
ED
Blue crab
Callinectes arcuatus
33
394.93
ER
Bass
Paralabrax maculatofasciatus
34
230.08
ER
Dark spot mojarra
Eucinostomus entomelas
61
92.37
ER
Grunt
Haemulopsis elongatus
231
41.75
ED
Snail
Phyllonotus erythrostomus
53
30.48
ED
Rooster fish
Nematistius pectorales
170
27.69
ED
Green jack
Caranx caballus
104
25.25
ED
Seabass
Cynoscion xanthulus
262
23.12
ED
Pacific sierra
Scomberomorus sierra
76
22.03
ER
Dow’s mojarra
Eucinostomus dowii
51
19.02
ER
Panama kingcroaker
Shorthead lizardfish
Menticirrhus panamensis
143
17.30
ED
Synodus scituliceps
36
14.72
ED
Yellowfin jack
Hemocaranx leucurus
49
12.89
ED
Pacific flagfin mojarra Eucinostomus currani
Bullet tuna
Auxis spp.
162
11.23
ER
45
10.54
ED
Elops affinis
62
9.73
ED
Ophistonema spp.
40
8.79
ED
Black axillary mojarra Eugerres axilaris
93
7.33
ER
Chano croaker
Longspine grunt
Micropogonias megalops
23
7.29
ED
103
6.46
ED
Pacific bumper
Silver seabass
Chloroscombrus orqueta
56
4.32
ED
Isopisthus remifer
47
3.56
ER
Mullet
Mugil cephalus
50
2.62
ER
Peruvian moonfish
Selene peruviana
56
2.35
ED
Pacific ladyfish
Herring
Arius spp.
Pomadasys macracanthus
Table I. SBC species found in the artisanal shrimp fishery of the States of Sonora &
Sinaloa. ED= discarded species, ER= retained species (co: commercial) and EP= protection
status. Continued
COMMON NAME
SCIENTIFIC NAME
Total
# of
Weight
Orgs
USE
(Kg)
Flounder
Etropus spp.
65
2.19
ED
Haller’s round ray
Urolophus halleri
30
1.78
ED
Kelp bass
Paralabrax clathratus
9
1.74
ED
Silver seabass
Cynoscion parvipinis
Shovelnose guitarfish Rhinobatos productus
8
1.60
ED
9
1.32
ED
Oligoplites refulgens
99
0.56
ED
Anchovy
Anchovia macrolepidota
10
0.55
ED
Flounder
Paralichthys spp.
22
0.41
ED
Salema butterfish
Peprilus snyderi
5
0.34
ED
Ronco croaker
Eastern Pacific
bonefish
Gulf grouper
Bairdiella icistia
18
0.34
ED
Albula esuncula
3
0.26
ED
Mycteroperca jordani
1
0.21
EP, ER
6
0.20
ED
Shortjaw
leatherjacket
Longjaw leatherjacket Oligoplites altus
Triggerfish
Balistes polylepis
35
0.19
ED
Inshore sand perch
Diplectrum pacificum
38
0.17
ED
Peruvian mojarra
Pufferfish
Diapterus peruvianus
1
0.05
ED
Sphoeroides annulatus
35
Shorthead lizardfish
Synodus scituliceps
36
Bichi
unidentified species
19
ED
Ratón
unidentified species
5
ED
Snail
Melongena patula
3
ER
Snapper
Lutjanus spp.
7
ER
Shining grunt
Haemulopsis nitidus
54
ED
Dow’s mojarra
Eucinostomus dowii
Pacific spadefish
Chaetodipterus zonatus
ED
14.60
ED
ED
3
ED
• Retained bycatch
Retained SBC basically consisted of 13 known species consumed regionally and nationally, including: the
sand bass (Paralabrax maculatofasciatus), sierra (Scomberomorus sierra), seabass (Cynoscion spp.),
mojarra (Eucinostomus spp.), and the swimming crabs (Callinectes bellicosus and C. arcuatus). These
species represent 25% of all SBC species. However, in terms of volume they are not abundant, except for
the swimming crabs, the sierras, and the mojarras (Table II). These species were retained mainly
because of their good acceptance as food and for family consumption rather than for their size, since they
were not large. Only rarely do the fishermen sell the SBC, and then, mainly crabs and sierras (Table II).
• Discarded bycatch
During the study it was seen that most SBC species were discarded (75%), because they have no
commercial value. This SBC is composed mainly of small-bodied, spiny, thin, and not very pleasantly
flavored organisms (Table II).
• Globally threatened species found in the SBC
During this study a single specimen of a fish commonly known as the gulf grouper (Mycteroperca jordani)
was captured, this species is found in the red list (http://www.iucnredlist.org/details/14049/0) under the
status of endangered species, mainly due to its slow growth, its age at first reproduction, and its incidental
capture in the trawling fisheries (Table II).
• Description of retained, discarded, and threatened species per bay
Bay of Guaymas-Empalme
Table II and Figure 6 show that the dominant species in the Bay of Guaymas is the swimming crab
(Callinectes spp.), with 38%, followed by the Pacific anchovy. There were twelve retained species, and all
other organisms were discarded. Only one of the species is endangered. It is worth mentioning that only
one specimen was captured throughout the study, and it was only within this bay.
Table II. SBC species in the Bahia de Guaymas, common & scientific names. # of orgs=
number of organisms, %= percentage,
ed= discarded species, er= retained species (co:
commercial) and ep= protection status.
Blue crab
Callinectes bellicosus
# of
%
ED ER
Orgs
2183 37.77
Co
Pacific anchoveta
Sea catfish
Cetengraulis mysticetus
1868 32.32
Arius spp.
320
5.54
No
Grunt
Haemulopsis elongatus
216
3.74
No
Rooster fish
Nematistius pectoralis
144
2.49
No
Pacific flagfin
mojarra
Eucinostomus currani
139
2.41
No
COMMON NAME
SCIENTIFIC NAME
EP
No
No
Table II. SBC species in the Bahia de Guaymas, common & scientific names. # of orgs=
number of organisms, %= percentage, ed= discarded species, er= retained species (co:
commercial) and ep= protection status. Continued
# of
COMMON NAME
SCIENTIFIC NAME
%
ED ER EP
Orgs
Green Jack
Caranx caballus
104 1.80
No
Longspine grunt
Pomadasys macracanthus
98
1.70
No
Eugerres axilaris
93
1.61
No
Scomberomorus sierra
59
1.02
Pacific bumper
Yellowfin jack
Chloroscombus orqueta
48
0.83
No
Hemocaranx leucuruz
44
0.76
No
Herring
Ophistonema spp.
40
0.69
No
Peruvian moonfish
Selene peruvianis
40
0.69
No
Pacific ladyfish
Snail
Elops affinis
37
0.64
No
Phyllonotus erythortomus
35
0.61 Co
No
33
0.57
33
0.57
No
Menticirrhus panamensis
28
0.48
No
Urolophus halleri
25
0.43
No
Silver seabass
Flounder
Isopisthus remifer
24
0.42
Paralichthys spp.
22
0.38 Co
No
Dow’s mojarra
Shortjaw
leatherjacket
Chano croaker
Flounder
Eucinostomus dowii
21
0.36
No
Oligoplites refulgens
21
0.36
No
Micropogonias megalops
20
0.35 Co
No
Etropus spp.
13
0.22
No
Anchovy
Anchovia macrolepidota
10
0.17
No
Kelp bass
Paralabrax clathratus
9
0.16
No
Silver-blue seabass
Shovelnose
guitarfish
Longjaw
leatherjacket
Inshore sand perch
Cynoscion parvipinis
8
0.14
Rhinobathus productus
8
0.14 Co
No
Oligoplites altus
6
0.10
No
Diplectrum pacificum
6
0.10
No
Salema butterfish
Peprilus snyderi
5
0.09
No
Black axillary
mojarra
Pacific sierra
Swimming crab
Callinectes arcuatus
Shorthead lizardfish Synodus scituliceps
Panama
kingcroaker
Haller’s round ray
Co
Co
Co
Co
No
No
No
No
Table II. SBC species in the Bahia de Guaymas, common & scientific names. # of orgs=
number of organisms, %= percentage, ed= discarded species, er= retained species (co:
commercial) and ep= protection status. Continued
# of
COMMON NAME
SCIENTIFIC NAME
%
ED ER EP
Orgs
Mullet
Mugil cephalus
3 0.05
Co
No
Bullet fish
Albula esuncula
3
0.05
No
Triggerfish
Balistes polilepys
3
0.05 Co
No
Snail
Melongena patula
3
0.05
No
Spotted sand bass
Paralabrax
maculatofasciatus
2
0.03
No
Dark spot Mojarra
Eucinostomus entomelas
1
0.02
No
Paloma pompano
Trachinotus paitensis
1
0.02
No
Gulf grouper
Mycteroperca jordani
1
0.02
Co
Si
Cynoscion xanthulum
1
0.02
Co
No
Diapterus peruvianus
1
0.02
Yellow-white
seabass
Peruvian mojarra
No
Fig. 6. Composiciónde la FAC en la Bahía de Guaymas.
C. arcuatus, 7.67
Arius
spp,
8.12
P.maculatofasci
atus, 4.47
E.
entomella
, 1.75
C. mysticetus,
22.87
Otros, 5.16
C. bellicosus,
49.82
Figure 6. SBC composition in the Bay of Guaymas, Sonora.
Bahía de Lobos Bay
Table III and Figure 7 show that the dominant species found in Bahía de Lobos Bay is
the swimming crab (Callinectes spp.) with 45%. Six species were retained,
corresponding to 25%; the rest of the species were discarded and none of these is
threatened. The green crab (Callinectes bellicosus) is the main species of interest
because of its size.
Table III. SBC species in Bahia de Lobos, common & scientific names. # of orgs= number of
organisms, %= percentage, ed= discarded species, er= retained species (co: commercial) and
ep= protection status.
COMMON NAME
Swimming crab
SCIENTIFIC NAME
Callinectes spp.
Pacific anchoveta
# of Orgs
%
ED
ER
1000
45.60
Cetengraulis mysticetus
458
20.88
Seabass
Panama
Kingcroaker
Shortjaw
leatherjacket
Bullet tuna
Cynoscion xanthulum
261
11.90
Menticirrus panamensis
115
5.24
No
Oligoplites refulgens
78
3.56
No
Auxis spp.
45
2.05
No
Dark spot mojarra
Eucinostomus entomelas
42
1.92
No
Sea catfish
Arius spp.
34
1.55
No
Roosterfish
Nematistius pectoralis
26
1.19
No
Flounder
Etropus spp.
23
1.05
No
Mullet
Mugil cephalus
18
0.82
Peruvian moonfish
16
0.73
10
0.46
Co
No
Pacific sierra
Selene peruviana
Paralabrax
maculatofasciatus
Scomberomorus sierra
10
0.46
Co
No
Pacific ladyfish
Elops affinis
8
0.36
No
Pacific bumper
Chloroscombus orqueta
8
0.36
No
Ronco croaker
Longspine grunt
Bairdiella icistia
5
0.23
No
Pomadasys macracanthus
5
0.23
No
Yellowfin jack
Hemicaranx leucurus
5
0.23
No
Haller’s round ray
Urolophus halleri
5
0.23
No
Pacific spadefish
Chaetodipterus zonatus
3
0.14
No
Chano croaker
Shorthead
Micropogonias megalops
3
0.14
Synodus scituliceps
3
0.14
Rhinobathus productus
1
0.05
Co
No
Sphoeroides annulatus
11
0.50
Co
No
Spotted sand bass
lizardfish
Shovelnose
guitarfish
Pufferfish
Co
EP
No
No
Co
Co
No
No
No
Co
No
No
Fig. 7.- Composición de la FAC en Bahía de Lobos, Son.
M. panamensis
5%
C. xanthulum
12%
C. mysticetus
21%
O. refulgens
4%
Auxis spp
2%
Otros
11%
Callinectes spp
46%
Figure 7. SBC composition in Bahía de Lobos, Sonora.
Bahia del Tobari
Table IV and Figure 8 show that the dominant species at El Tobari Bay is the swimming crab (Callinectes
spp.) with 72%. Six other species were retained, corresponding to 55%; the rest of the species were
discarded, with none listed as threatened.
Table IV. SBC species in the Bahia del Tobari, common & scientific names. # of orgs=
number of organisms, %= percentage,
ed= discarded species, er= retained species (co:
commercial) and ep= protection status.
COMMON NAME
SCIENTIFIC NAME
Swimming crab
Callinectes spp.
Pacific anchoveta
# of
Orgs
%
ED ER EP
419
71.99
Co No
Cetengraulis mysticetus
55
9.45
No
Dow’s mojarra
Mullet
Eucinostomus dowii
30
5.15
No
Mugil cephalus
29
4.98
Co No
Snail
Phyllonotus erythortomus
18
3.09 Co
No
Mojarra
Eucinostomus entomelas
18
3.09
No
Pacific sierra
Snapper
Scomberomorus sierra
7
1.20
Co No
Lutjanus spp.
6
1.03
Co No
Fig. 8. Composición de la FAC en Bahía del Tobari
C. mysticetus
M. cephalus
10% E. dowii
5%
P. erythortomus
3%
5%
E. entomella
3%
Otros
5%
Callinectes spp
72%
S. sierra
1%
Lutjanus spp
1%
Figure 8. SBC composition in Bahia del Tobari, Sonora.
Santa María La Reforma Bay
Table V and Figure 9 show that the dominant species observed in this bay was the grunt or the triggerfish
with 15.7%. There were 4 retained species, the rest of the species were discarded, and none were listed
as threatened.
Table V. SBC species in the Bahia Santa Maria-La Reforma, common & scientific names. # of
orgs= number of organisms, %= percentage, ed= discarded species, er= retained species (co:
commercial) and ep= protection status.
COMMON NAME
SCIENTIFIC NAME
# of
Orgs
%
ED
ER
EP
Grunt
Haemulopsis nitidus
54
15.74
No
Sea catfish
Arius spp.
34
9.91
No
Triggerfish
Balistes polylepis
32
9.33
Inshore sand perch
Diplectrum pacificum
32
9.33
No
Flounder
Paralichthys spp.
29
8.45
No
Pufferfish
Sphoeroides annulatus
24
7.00
Co
No
Silver seabass
Isopisthus remifer
23
6.71
Co
No
Mojarra
Eucinostomus currani
23
6.71
Spotted sand bass
Paralabrax
maculatofasciatus
22
6.41
Bichi
Unidentified species
19
5.54
No
Pacific ladyfish
Elops affinis
17
4.96
No
Panama kingcroaker Haemulopsis elongatus
15
4.37
No
Ronco croaker
Ratón
Bairdiella icistia
13
3.79
No
Unidentified species
5
1.46
No
Snapper
Lutjanus spp.
1
0.29
Co
No
No
Co
Co
No
No
Fig. 9.- Composición de la FAC en La Reforma, Sin.
I. remifer, 6.71
P.
E. currani, 6.71
S. annulatus,
maculatofasciat
7.00
us, 6.41
Paralichthys
bichi, 5.54
spp, 8.45
Otros, 14.87
D. pacificum,
9.33
B.
H. nitidus, 15.74
polylepis,
9.33
Arius spp,
9.91
Figure 9. SBC composition in La Reforma, Sinaloa.
Proportion of incidental catches
For the duration of this study, information was obtained from a total of 854 fishing hauls working within the
study site. On average there were 210 fishing hauls per bay, with a null-SBC amount of hauls of 20-30%
(average of bays), in which the only species captured was shrimp.
The analysis of the ratio of average shrimp to SBC in all the bays was of 1:0.4, although this ratio varied
between bays. Ratios per bay are shown in tale See Table VI.
Table VI. Shrimp to SBC proportion by bay, during the 2011 shrimping season.
Locality
Proportion (Shrimp:SBC)
Bay of Guaymas
1 : 0.50
Bahía de Lobos Bay
1 : 0.28
El Tobari Bay
1 : 0.49
La Reforma Bay
1 : 0.50
DISCUSSION
The artisanal shrimp fisheries’ bycatch in Mexico has been little studied, with the exception of Amezcua et
al. (2006) and Suenaga (2010) who conducted studies on the effects of artisanal fishing, and their results
are an important reference for this study, given the scarcity of available literature. Nonetheless, there are
several studies about the offshore shrimp trawling fishery, which is conducted by larger vessels, and
several studies report that the proportion of shrimp to SBC averages 1:10 kg (Alverson et al. 1996, García
and Gómez 2000, Lopez-Martinez et al. 2005, Morales-Azpeitia 2011). Therefore, the shrimp trawling
fishery is regarded worldwide as one of the highest SBC capture fisheries (Kelleher 2005, Gillett 2010).
The SBC generated by these fishing vessels, by zones, is highly variable (Arvizu and Chavez 1972,
Chapa 1976, Pérez-Mellado 1980, Yañez-Arancibia 1984, Villaseñor-Talavera 1997), even between
seasons within the same area (Pérez-Mellado 1980, Grande-Vidal and Diaz-Lopez 1981, VillaseñorTalavera 1997, Pérez-Mellado 1998, Lopez-Martinez et al. 2007).
While it is true that in terms of engineering the several types of fishing gear used throughout the world all
have the ability to capture incidental fauna, which is allowed up to a certain percentage, it is highly
relevant that this study found a high percentage of null-SBC fishing hauls (20-30%) in the bays of Sonora,
when the chinchorrode linea was being used. This means that at least one third of the hauls performed
using this shrimp fishing gear did not capture any SBC, and in terms of the negative impacts upon the
communities of marine and coastal lagoon ecosystems, these are nonexistent. Another benefic factor for
the marine ecosystem, in terms of the extraction of natural resources, is that this activity does not take
place throughout the year, occurring during only four months (September to December). However, SBC
was captured during the artisanal shrimp fishing operations in all of the bays and months of duration of
this present study, and these ranged in average between 1:0.2 to 1:1 (shrimp:SBC). This figure is eight
times lower than the proportion of SBC generated using shrimp trawling boats (García-Caudillo and
Gómez-Palafox 2005, Morales-Azpeitia 2011).
The proportion of shrimp SBC in this study was lower than that reported by other authors for this same
fishery. Amezcua et al. (2006) found a ratio of 1:15 in the La Reforma lagoon system and Suenaga
(2010) reported a ratio of 1:22 for the Bay of Guaymas. The high proportion of shrimp SBC reported by
Amezcua et al. may be due to the fact that sampling was conducted between December 2001 and May
2002, a period in which shrimp abundances are either too low or next to zero. In the case of Suenaga’s
study, even when the work was done throughout the 2003-2004 shrimp fishing season, shrimp catches
had a very low yield, since these were obtained from just a single fishing vessel. It is worth mentioning
that for the duration of the commercial shrimp fishery the best fishing zones are always actively sought,
and fishing areas known to yield SBC are avoided (for example, in order to avoid the capture of the sea
catfish/chihuil (Arius spp.)) and a fishermen’s experience plays a very important role in this.
With respect to the composition of the SBC, within all bays 46 species were identified during the present
study, but only 10 were identified at the genus level (such as Paralichthys, Lutjanus, and Etropus), but
these do not represent a volume any greater than 1% of the total catch. The number of species found in
this study were higher than those reported by Suenaga (2010), who reported 44 species just in Guaymas.
The difference may be due to the higher number of bays studied.
The most diverse group was fish, but the dominant SBC species, in terms of volume, was the swimming
crab (Callinectes spp.).
As to the SBC species retained by bay, on average this represents 25% of the total of species. These
species are mainly intended for family consumption, except when volumes are higher (over 20 kg) and
only if there is a buyer present then it is marketed; the swimming crabs, the Pacific sierra, and the corvina
are the main species in this category. Of all SBC species, 75% are discarded (Table II).
In Sonora, particularly, the fishing effort has increased by 83% in just a decade (1980–1990), yet shrimp
catches are decreasing. The most outstanding point about this situation is the decrease of the fishing
season itself — ever since 1981–1986 the shrimping season lasted until February, according PadillaSerrato (2005), and during this study, the season was reduced to end in December, which, according to
Hernandez-Carballo and Macias (1996), has been the norm since the 1991–1992 season.
The coastal shrimp fishery has had an increase in its fishing efforts and these may cause socio-economic
deficiencies. These are due to the variation in shrimp pricing during the fishing season or can be
explained by an increase in the yield of larger-sized organisms, which command higher prices on the
international markets (Cruz-Romero et al. 1996).
The shrimp resource has been strongly and consistently exploited, both in the artisanal zone and at high
sea, thus it is said to be on the verge of a collapse (Wadsworth 1976). It is said that this problem is due to
the elaboration of sophisticated models and to a prolonged capture of time classes, resulting in
overexploitation. Two of the biggest problems in the collapse of this fishery may be due to the effect of
unaccounted externalities; one of these is the stock’s externality, which may cause capture declines,
which can be accounted for by the entry of new vessels to the fishery that have casued a reduction of the
resource to existing fishermen and thus increase the fishing costs. This is commonly observed not only in
the Guaymas area, but also in other areas and is due to incorrect fisheries management and to a lack of
supervision that allows the introduction of hundreds of boats that only capture this resource during the
first fishing days of the season. Another possible factor could be the increase and agglomeration of boats
within a fishing area, which results in a reduction of the fishing area under which the fishing effort is not
successfully applied (Seijo et al. 1997, Flores Olivares 2003).
CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS
• The impacts of the artisanal blue shrimp fishery are low, both in terms of catch volumes of SBC and the
number of species caught, and can be summarized under four main factors:
1. A third of the fishing hauls made in the bays and coasts were null (SBC was not captured), which
reduces the impact of fishing on the ecosystem.
2. The average proportion shrimp to SBC in this study was 1:0.5.
3. The fishing season is only four months long (September to December).
4. SBC volumes captured using the suripera net are less than 2 kg per fishing day.
• The SBC’s retained species per bay is on average a 25% of the total of species caught. These species
are used mostly for home consumption and some are marketed, such as the crab, sierra, and corvina.
• Most of the SBC species are discarded (75%).
• Of the total number of captured species, only a single specimen of one species (Mycteroperca jordani),
considered as under special protection, was found within the bay of Guaymas-Empalme.
• This study should be continued for several fishing seasons, in order to strengthen the results and
analyze the population dynamics of the dominant SBC species, thus helping to determine the health
status of these populations which may be indicative of impacts.
• Fishing gear verification is recommended, mainly on the gillnets as their design and construction
characteristics are beyond those established under the Mexican Official Standards Policy (NOM). The
use of authorized fishing gear guarantees a lower impact on bycatch.
• It is recommended to perform studies on both intraspecific and multispecies selectivity, in order to
increase the fishing efficiency of this type of gear.
List of participants
Jesús Guadalupe Padilla Serrato, M.Sc. (Bahía Guaymas-Empalme)
Everardo Miranda Mier, Fisheries Technician (Bahía Guaymas-Empalme)
Alejandro Valdez Pelayo, M.Sc. (Bahía de Lobos)
Marina Estefanía García González, B.Sc. (Bahía de Lobos)
José Francisco Cueto Moreno, B.Sc. (Bahía el Tobarí)
Tomás Sánchez y Ramón (Bahía Santa María La Reforma)
Also, we wish to thank the fishermen who supported the study and provided information about their daily
fishing activities.
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