WHAT ARE FISHERIES LEARNING EXCHANGES?
Fisheries Learning Exchanges (FLEs) are events or initiatives promoting knowledge sharing, capacity building, and collaboration to improve or enhance the sustainable management and conservation of aquatic resources among stakeholders involved in fisheries and related activities.
WHAT ARE THE MAIN GOALS AND ACTIVITIES CARRIED OUT?
- To formally present the scope of the Mares Comunidad project.
- Learn fishers' ideas and feedback about the most effective bycatch reduction strategies for the net fisheries based out of each community.
- Provide a space for fishers and other partners to interact, share experiences, and look for ways to work together.
- We conduct a panel discussion with prominent artisanal fishers and our advisor to discuss common challenges and possible solutions relating to sea turtle bycatch.
- We continue with break-out sessions between the artisanal fishers and our team to exchange ideas and strategies about best reducing leatherback and loggerhead turtle interactions in artisanal, drift- and set-net fisheries.
- Discussions advance to include schedule planning and technical details for gear trials when possible.
- We discuss methodologies to increase post-release survivorship of entangled turtles, as well as possible alternative livelihoods that would reduce heavy fishing pressure.
EXCHANGES CARRIED OUT
Six Fisheries Learning Exchanges have been carried out:
LAGUNA SAN IGNACIO, BAJA CALIFORNIA SUR
In July 2022, Mares Comunidad team members traveled to Laguna San Ignacio, Baja California Sur, for the first exchange.
32 were the total attendees, comprised of:
- Artisanal fishers representing five fishing communities (Bahía de los Ángeles, El Partido, Guerrero Negro, La Reforma, and Laguna San Ignacio) from 3 Mexican states (Baja California, Baja California Sur, Sinaloa).
- Community leaders.
- Mares Comunidad team members.
- Project advisors.
- Government agencies.
- Other partners.
BAHÍA DE LOS ÁNGELES, BAJA CALIFORNIA
For the second exchange, Mares Comunidad members from Grupo Tortuguero de las Californias and the NOAA-lead from Grupo Tortuguero de las Californias traveled to Bahía de los Angeles in August 2022 to speak with three artisanal fishers to discuss gear trials and their interest in participating.
As a result, formal collaborations were finalized with fishers from La Reforma, Guerrero Negro, and Bahía de los Ángeles to partner with Mares Comunidad for experimental fisheries trials.
In May 2022, Mares Comunidad team members participated in a workshop with representatives from several Mexican government agencies, including CONAPESCA, INAPESCA, CONANP, and BIENESTAR. We shared the project's goals, objectives, and activities and invited government partners to collaborate.
In May 2022, Mares Comunidad team members visited with fishermen and fisherwomen to share the project's objectives and hear their experiences, challenges, needs, etc.
LA REFORMA, SINALOA
In May 2022, the Mares Comunidad team visited fishermen to share the project's objectives and hear their experiences, challenges, and needs. An experiment was also planned to test the fishermen's idea about specific modifications to fishing gear that could lead to reducing turtle bycatch while maintaining target catch.
In July 2023, the Mares Comunidad team visited with fishermen to share the project's objectives. They also followed up with fishers who had previously participated in Rapid Bycatch Assessments. The workshop provided a forum to hear from fishers about their experiences, challenges, and needs.