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    Fisheries Resources
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Mexico enjoys a privileged geographical location that enables access to the Pacific Ocean’s, Gulf of Mexico’s and Caribbean Sea’s huge diversity of marine resources. Its coastal area runs along just over 11 000 km, its territorial sea extends over ​​232 000 km2 and its Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) over about 3 million km2 (De la Lanza, 2004). These areas encompass a wide variety of ecosystems, including mangrove forests, estuaries, coastal lagoons, coral reefs and seagrass beds, among many others, where multiple species coexist which are harvested as food or raw materials for a wide range of consumer products and consumption by the population. These biological resources are represented by 350 fish, 56 mollusk, 42 crustacean, 12 echinoderm and 4 plant species (Conabio, 1998, DOF, 2004).

The exploitation of fishery stocks grew markedly between 1950 and 2006, worldwide: Over this period of time, the global total catch (catch plus aquaculture) increased from 19 to 144 million tonnes (FAO, 2009). As for the volume of fisheries production, Mexico is one of the twenty largest producers in the world (13th), contributing with the equivalent of 1.07% to the total annual world catch for 2007 (FAO, 2010). Fisheries contributed with about 0.8 percent to Mexico’s gross domestic product (GDP) in 2001 and provided almost 269 000 jobs in that same year (FAO, 2010). On the other hand, aquaculture contribution has recently increased to such an extent that Mexico is now one of the ten major producing countries in the world, in terms of its growth over the 2004-2006 period (FAO, 2009, 2010).

However, this production increase has led to the decline of wild populations of many species, both in Mexico and around the world (Galindo, 1998; Groombridge and Jenkins, 2002; Godø et al., 2003; FAO, 2009). The factors directly driving this decline are mainly the increasing catch and fishing effort (Groombridge and Jenkins, 2002; EEA, 2003). Indirect pressures include the environmental impacts from economic activities such as industry, agriculture, tourism and coastal development which have also had important impacts on fisheries (Arriaga et al., 2000; Shiva 2001; SAGARPA, 2002; Collares-Pereira and Cowx, 2004).

To address this problem, the recent decades have seen an increasing global interest on fish harvesting and the sustainability of fishing practices. Fisheries management has been mostly directed to prevent overfishing by establishing minimum capture sizes, seasonal bans and area closures, as well as catch quotas, among other mechanisms. In parallel, efforts have been made for developing and implementing a regulatory framework for fishing activities aimed at regulating the use and management of these resources to maintain fishery stocks over time while fulfilling the society’s consumption needs. Fishery regulations enacted in Mexico include the Fisheries Act (DOF, 1992) and its Regulations (DOF, 1999); to support these instruments, a regulatory framework constituted by 22 fisheries management standards has been developed, including two for the protection of species of special concern and four for aquaculture health (SAGARPA, 2000a, 2001a, 2002).




Arriaga, C., L., V. Aguilar S. y J. Alcocer. Aguas continentales y diversidad biológica de México. México. 2000.

Collares-Pereira, M. J. e I. G. Cowx. The role of catchment scale environmental management in freshwater fish conservation. Fisheries Management and Ecology 11: 303-312. 2004.

Conabio. La diversidad biológica de México: estudio de país. México. 1998. de la Lanza Espino, G. Gran escenario de la zona costera y oceánica de México. Ciencias 76:4-13. 2004.

De la Lanza Espino, G. Gran escenario de la zona costera y oceánica de México. Ciencias 76: 4-13. 2004

DOF. Ley de Pesca. México. 1992 (25 de junio).

DOF. Reglamento de la Ley de Pesca. México. 1999 (29 de septiembre).

DOF. Carta Nacional Pesquera. México. 2004 (15 de marzo).

EEA. Europe´s Environment: the Third Assessment. Copenhagen. 2003.

FAO. El estado mundial de la pesca y la acuicultura 2008. Roma. 2009.

FAO. Perfiles sobre la pesca y la acuicultura por países. México. Disponible en:  Fecha de consulta: 30-10-2012.

FAO. Yearbook of fishery statistics. Summary tables. Disponible en:  Fecha de consulta: 30-10-2012.

Galindo, I. Dinámica de población y desarrollo sustentable. En: Toledo, G. y M. Leal (Eds.). Destrucción del hábitat. UNAM-Programa Universitario del Medio Ambiente. México. 1998.

Godø, O. R., A. Rijnsdorp, U. Dieckmann y M. Heino. The effects of fishing on the genetic composition of living marine resources. ICES Annual Report for 2002. Copenhagen. 2003.

Groombridge, B. y M. D. Jenkins. World Atlas of Biodiversity. UNEP-WCMC. University of California Press. USA. 2002.

Sagarpa. Anuario Estadístico de Pesca. México. 2000a, 2001a y 2002.

Shiva, V. Impactos ambientales nocivos. World Rainforest Movement. 51:1-2. 2001.