MEXICO :The Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock, Rural Development, Fisheries and Food (SAGARPA) has set a ban on tuna fishing in national waters of the Pacific Ocean and in the regulation area of the Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission (IATTC) for the period 2018 -2020.
The measure applies to the commercial fishing of yellowfin tuna (Thunnus albacares), bigeye tuna (Thunnus obesus), bluefin (Thunnus orientalis) and skipjack (Katsuwonus pelamis), with the aim of promoting the recovery of this resource and maintain the continuity of the fishing activity, generating jobs and food.
While the ban is in force, it is temporarily prohibited for Mexican-flagged purse seiners to capture such species on the high seas and foreign jurisdictional waters that are in the IATTC regulation area.
Commercial fishing will be prohibited with tuna vessels of 182 and more metric tons of carrying capacity using purse seine and with longline vessels of more than 24 metres in length, in waters of federal jurisdiction and foreign jurisdictions of the Eastern Pacific Ocean (EPO), which are included in the area delimited by the North, Central and South America coast and by the following lines: the parallel of 40º N from the North American coast, until its intersection with the meridian of the 150º W; the meridian of 150º W, until its intersection with the parallel of 40º S, and this last parallel, until its intersection with the coast of South America.
The established closure periods are:
- From 00:00 hours on July 29 to 24:00 hours on October 8, 2018.
- From 00:00 hours on July 29 to 24:00 hours on October 8, 2019.
- From 00:00 hours on July 29 to 24:00 hours on October 8, 2020.
In the Agreement published in the Official Gazette of the Federation (DOF), whereby this measure is made public, SAGARPA adds that, as an alternative, in each year, the holders of commercial fishing permits for the aforementioned tuna vessels , may be subject to the following closure periods:
- From 00:00 hours on November 9, 2018 to 24:00 hours on January 19, 2019.
- From 00:00 hours on November 9, 2019 to 24:00 hours on January 19, 2020.
- From 00:00 hours on November 9, 2020 until 24:00 hours on January 19, 2021.
Mexican-flagged purse seiners with a carrying capacity between 182 and 272 metric tons, and longline vessels of more than 24 metres in length overall, will be entitled to make a fishing trip of up to 30 days during the closed season, always and when an authorized observer is on board, in accordance with the Agreement on the International Program for the Protection of Dolphins (AIDCP) during that journey.
Additionally, a temporary ban is set for commercial fishing for the aforementioned tuna species, with tuna purse seiners, of 182 and more metric tons of carrying capacity and longline vessels of more than 24 metres in length, from 00:00 hours from October 9 to 24:00 hours from November 8 for each year, from 2018 to 2020, in the area between 96° and 110° W and 4° N and 3° S, within the EPO (area known as "corralito").
Exceptions to the observance of the closure period and the fishing ban set by the published Agreement, tuna boats, longline vessels less than 24 metres in length, sports-recreational fishing vessels, and boats purse seiners equal to or less than 182 metric tons of carrying capacity.