Have a Baja Moment! Lobster Season in Bahia Asuncion
Lobster season began on Baja’s Central Pacific Coast on October 1st. Fishermen had been making their traps and holding pens for the last month and were very anxious to start fishing. Bahia Asuncion always celebrates the opening of lobster season, as the economy improves, and everyone is in better spirits!
Local fishermen who have fished for lobster for generations are very proud that the Baja California spiny lobster (Panulirus interruptus) fishery was the first Latin American and community-based, artisanal fishery certified to Marine Stewardship Council standards. The only two certified lobster fisheries in the world are in Mexico and Australia. and both yield better prices on the world market.
The scientific evaluation process certifies the status of the fish stock, the impact of the fishery on the marine ecosystem, and the management system overseeing the fishery. Our area in Central Baja boasts an outstanding model of a well managed, sustainable artisanal fishery, and our local fishermen have set a fine example of stewardship with one of the region’s most valuable resources. Eventually, they will be able to pass on this heritage to future generations.
There are ten cooperatives that make up the Regional Federation of Cooperative Societies of Fisheries of Baja California (Fedecoop). More than 500 fishermen from Cedros Island to Punta Abreojos and Guadalupe Island participate in the fishery, with over 230 pangas harvesting lobster with about 15,500 traps, and producing an annual average catch of 1,456 tons (valued at approximately $65 million U.S.).
The cooperatives account for approximately 80 percent of the total catch of this species in the entire country. Most of the catch is shipped out live, but frozen lobsters are also sold. The vast majority of the lobster catch is exported to Asia, with a smaller percentage shipped to France and the U.S. The remaining ten percent is sold domestically, primarily to restaurants.
The lobster and abalone fisheries are what fuel these Central Pacific Coast villages, and we are proud that stewardship is taken seriously. I can’t wait to have my first lobster dinner of the season!
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