Sunday, May 22, 2011

Mexico’s Dorado and Anglers Win!


WON Staff Writer

CABO SAN LUCAS-- In a long drawn out battle between the commercial and sportfishing industries, yesterday in Michoacán, Mexico, the government met in a third round of public forums to decide the fate of the sportfishing industry but amending Article 68. Guess what-we won!

“The Department of Mexican Fisheries decided to violate their own laws by allowing the commercial fishing industry to illegally harvest dorado,” Vince Radice, producer of the El Oro de Cortez (The Gold of Cortez) documentary said. You may remember WON ran an article about the video depicting the greed and corruption of a few, helping to destroy the last relatively abundant fish in the Sea of Cortes. If you missed it, here is a link to the latest version

“Twenty five years ago, some far-sighted Mexican legislators decided that tourism and sportfishing jobs were more sustainable and lucrative than commercial fishing jobs and created Article 68 in the general law of the Mexican fisheries,” Radice said. “This made it illegal to commercially fish six species of fish in Mexico; sailfish, marlin, roosterfish, swordfish, sabalo, and dorado.”

The less than stellar oversight of the commercial fishermen’s efforts created a decline in their catches and they turned their attention to the wanton take of dorado. There is a very lucrative, illegal market in the United States for them and both governments seemed to look the other way.

“I have filed a Freedom of Information Act with NOAA through lawyers from the Center for Biological Diversity out of San Francisco to receive documents regarding their investigations related to dorado crossing into the U.S.,” Radice said. “Once we have these documents we will know what our options are against the U.S. Feds. and make America close the border to dorado imports. They have to enforce the Lacey Act as long as Article 68 remains intact.”

It’s long and complicated but the jest of it is there were “language loop holes” based on the fact that in some areas, there is no enforcement available, and given the bad economy, “needy commercial fishermen” were legally allowed to fish for dorado. What the findings turned up during the public forums though, was that only a few (and none of the needy) were benefiting from the loop holes.

So onto Friday’s victory! Victory number one: Based on his “poor performance,” the Fisheries Commission voted to request Federal Legislators to ask Ramon Corral, Head of the National Commission of Fisheries to step down.

Victory number two: After hearing testimony and presentations regarding the alleged “economical benefits of commercial dorado take” to the coastal communities, it was determined that only a few were reaping any rewards from NOM 029 and the words “social justification” were stripped from the amendment.

“This victory is truly amazing considering we only heard of the forum two weeks ago,” Minerva Saenz, President of the Los Cabos Sportfishing Union said. “Representation from many distant areas of Mexico rallied together with a single e-mail, and attended the forum creating an incredible united front against the commercialization of dorado. In attendance were sportfishing leaders from Manzanillo, Culiacan, Loreto, the East Cape, Mazatlan, Puerto Vallarta, Mexico City and many other areas,” Saenz said.

Of the many representatives there Friday, 85 percent voted in favor of supporting the sportfishing industry over the commercial industry. “It's a well deserved victory for all of Mexico’s sportfishing interests, anglers from everywhere, boat owners, charter companies, airlines, hotels, marinas, fuel docks, and an endless list of trickle down benefits,” Cortez Yacht Charters said.

Anglers are reminded there are still ways to continue to protect Mexico’s sportfishing. One is to go online and take the national survey called “Angler Economic Survey” after they return from trips here. These statistics will be compiled to scientifically prove the importance of the angler dollar.

And before you come down if anywhere in the state of Baja Sur is your destination, don’t buy your license online. Baja Sur is the only state in Mexico where a special Marina Resources fund (FORMA) is set up. This special “pool of funds” allows the licensing money to stay within the state for resource management and funding marine law enforcement, such as gas for patrols. Every area has licenses available locally, usually through your outfitter, so please consider this option when you can.

"C-Rod" our 38 ft Blackfin, looked great as she took off in the recent I.G.F.A World Offshore Championship, skipper Abel Ramirez is shown on the bridge.

Latest Fish Report

May 14th to 20th, 2011

Overall Catch Success Rate 93.20 % for All Species Combined

BILLFISH: Almost everybody caught fish this week, giving us a significant increase in our success rate with marlin still being the number one catch in Cabo. Fifty two percent of our boats caught billfish. “Shambala” did well this week, as they released three striped marlin on the 19th for the Parson´s family from Melbourne, FL; congratulations to Joanne Parson as she released one striper as a birthday gift. The same day, “C-Rod” also had a triple marlin day for Jeff & Harry Hartman and Chris Woodfin from Ballwin, MO; their fish were released in the Sea of Cortez between the 95 spot and San Jose area- they had a fantastic day with one hammerhead released, two yellow fin tuna and one dorado to boot. The next day, Charlie Stoll and friends from Florida had a great time aboard “Attitude Adjustment” with two striped marlin released one sailfish and one 20 lbs yellow fin tuna; the fish took a combination of lures and live bait. On the 16th, “Falcon” released two striped marlin and two jack crevalle for a group from Florida and Tennessee at the 11:50 Spot. Pierre & Coco Lacroix and friends from Denver, CO had a double marlin header and boated three yellow fin tuna 3 miles out from Chileno aboard our luxury 80 ft vessel “Mick” – goes to show these larger yachts are not just pretty they can perform too. Pisces anglers caught 22 striped marlin and 1 sailfish this week, all but one released.

OTHER SPECIES: We were right on the money in our last report and dorado and yellow fin tuna are back in Cabo waters with thirty eight percent of our anglers catching dorado or tuna. Best day was on the 19th aboard “Rebecca” for Robert Mendez, Kelly Gregg and Jon Jewitt from San Diego, CA with five dorado from 10 t 35 lbs (two of them were released); they also were lucky to release a striped marlin and boat four yellow fin tuna in the 20-30 lbs class; the fish was caught at Cabeza Ballena. On the 14th Steve Andrews and friends from Illinois had three dorado between 20-30 lbs aboard “Valerie”; they also released one striped marlin three miles out from Cerro Blanco; the fish took blue/white lures and the marlin took live bait. May 18th saw “La Brisa” have a triple dorado day for Andrew & Margaret McKown and friends from Beverly, MA; they had lots of fun reeling in five nice 30 lbs tuna and then went on to release a striped marlin. On the 17th Scott Mayer and friends from Washington boated three yellow fin tuna between 20 – 30 lbs aboard “La Brisa”; the fish took cedar plugs and black/red lures at the 95 spot. We had a total of 20 dorado and 25 yellow fin tuna this week.

We had a nice 40 lb wahoo on the 19th for a group from Houston, TX aboard “Mick”; they caught the fish at out from Santa Maria bay with a black/red lure.

As to other species, we had hammer head shark, sierra, bonita, jack crevalle, skipjacks, rooster fish.

WEATHER CONDITIONS: Clear, sunny skies with some windy days. Some white caps on the Pacific side.

LOCATION: Pacific Side – Herradura

Sea of Cortez – 11:50 Spot, Palmilla, Punta Gorda, Chileno, 95 Spot, Cerro Blanco, San Jose, Cabeza Ballena, Sta. Maria


BEST LURES: Green/yellow, green/black, cedar plugs, feathers, squid, purple, yellow, volador, hoochis, white/blue, red/black,

Live bait: caballito, ballyhoo, sardines , yellow tail

Based on the catches of Pisces by Ale Almada & Tracy Ehrenberg.

"La Brisa” have a triple dorado day for Andrew & Margaret McKown and friends from Beverly, MA; they had lots of fun reeling in five nice 30 lbs tuna and then went on to release a striped marlin.

Robert Mendez, Kelly Gregg and Jon Jewitt from San Diego, CA had a great day with five dorado from 10 t 35 lbs (two of them were released); they also were lucky to release a striped marlin and boat four yellow fin tuna in the 20-30 lbs class