Hake survey in Baja California. (Photo: cibnor.gob.mx)
Important fishing potential discovered in BCS
Monday, January 09, 2012, 04:20 (GMT + 9)
The Biological Research Centre of the Northwest (CIBNOR) says there are proven reserves of resources – so far unexploited– that can significantly increase the volume of national fish production.
Currently, the majority of Mexican fish catch is based on a few resources: the small pelagic fish (sardines, mackerel) and bigger fish (tuna), squid and shrimp.
However, according to conservative estimates, there is the possibility of a year between 40,000 and 100,000 tonnes of red crab (Pleuroncodes planipes) on the west coast of Baja California Sur (BCS) and a similar number of hake (Merluccius productus) and gurnard.
Estimates indicate that the national catch could rise by 15 per cent due to fishing for these three resources.
CIBNOR researchers also estimate that there about 500,000 tonnes per year potential to be sustainably harvested, La Crónica de Hoy reported.
If these catches were completed, it would be possible to drastically reduce the fishing effort on traditional fisheries today.
Last June, the country's experts conducted a first survey cruise aboard a commercial shrimp boat (Geomar X) in the western elevation of California peninsula.
During the investigation two dominant species were found: hake and red crab, which represented 90 per cent of the total catch.
In the case of hake, there were 8 positive hauls out of 26 and the main catchment area was the Gulf of Ulloa, north of Bahia Magdalena.
The average hake catch per haul was 2.5 tonnes and the effective fishing area, 34,819 square kilometres.
The estimated total biomass in this area is about 250,000 tonnes of hake.
In turn, the red crab was represented in 10 out of 14 stations of a total of 35 made in the west coast.
The main catchment area was the Gulf of Ulloa, and so far abundance and density values are unknown.
However, previous studies reported an estimated 460,217 tonnes of red crab for the winter-spring period, and 275,711 tonnes for summer-autumn, in the continental platform of South Lower California west coast.
On the other hand, last November a third survey cruise aboard Agresor commercial longliner was conducted, from which 1,350 kg of black cod were captured in about 19 hauls.
The study covered from Ensenada to Punta Colonet.
By Analia Murias