The grouper ban has been an insufficient strategy to guarantee the sustainability of this species because during the first weekend since the ban on its capture was lifted, fishermen detected specimens that still do not reach the permitted size.
The president of the Federation of Fishing Cooperative Societies of Yucatan, Jose Luis Carrillo Galaz, indicated to La Verdad Noticias that since April 1st the 2023 ban ended, to guarantee the sustainability of this fishery.
For this reason, since last Saturday the vessels of more than 15 fishing ports went out to sea in search of this sea species abundant in the Gulf of Mexico region and highly marketable in the local, national, and international markets.
“The grouper fishery has regulations such as sizes and they have regulations such as a closed season, however, even though the season has been closed for more than 20 years, the recovery of resources has not taken place”, he mentioned.
In addition, he assured that size has not been the only complication that Yucatecan fishermen have encountered when catching this species, as they have also encountered a decrease in their population during the last few years.
In this sense, Carrillo Galaz recalled that until 15 years ago, at the end of the grouper catching season, fishermen reported total figures that exceeded 10,000 tons, while during the last five years, the sum has hovered between 5,000 and 5,500 tons.
“That means that regulatory measures have been insufficient due to several factors, one of the main ones being illegal fishing, large-scale poaching, and the increase in the fishing effort we have in Yucatan,” he responded.
Low expectations for grouper fishing
Insufficient closure to guarantee the sustainability of grouper in Yucatán
The representative of the fishing communities commented that these problems keep expectations low for the men of the sea during the beginning of the grouper fishing season.
“We hope that the first month or the first two months we will have a regular production and the remaining 8 months the trips will be profitable,” he added.
The president of the Federation of Yucatecan Fishermen commented that to recover the grouper population in the Yucatecan coastal region, the authorities of the three orders of government must coordinate to create an effective surveillance strategy to prevent illegal fishing of this species during the time of prohibition.
He commented that during this year 2023, at least 20 identified vessels went out to sea with a permit to fish canané, but among their cargo they arrived with filleted grouper, to avoid being discovered.
The above, he added, resulted in at least four arrests of irregular fishermen and traders, who could not prove the origin of the grouper meat during the closed season.
Finally, Carrillo Galaz indicated that the grouper is currently marketed for between 220 and 270 pesos, depending on whether they are red or black specimens.