New research suggests that there is too much fishing activities being conducted in the Gulf of California.
Scientists from Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California discovered that local fishermen are catching fewer fish than before, even though they are spending more time and money to do so.
Using images from satellites and flyovers to count the number of small boats (pangas), scientists found that there are too many pangas operating there than was economically and ecologically sustainable. In fact, based on a new study published in PLOS ONE, in an area that can allow 13,277 boats to maximise the benefits of catching more fish during a trip, there were as many as 17,839 boats present.
"The current overcapacity of boats means that fishermen are working harder to catch fewer fish," said lead author Andrew F. Johnson, a postdoctoral scholar in the Gulf of California Marine Program at Scripps.
"This long-term overfishing reduces the biological capacity of reefs, mangroves and other important fish habitats," said senior author Octavio Aburto-Oropeza. “Ultimately, this means we are reducing the future economic and ecological productivity of the gulf."
The Gulf of California supplies almost 75 percent of Mexico's fish. It is also a prime spot for recreational activities like diving and sportfishing.