We retrospectively analyzed environmental policy instruments decreed by the Mexican federal government for the protection of marine species and ecosystems in the Upper Gulf of California. Totoaba (Totoaba macdonaldii) and the vaquita porpoise (Phocoena sinus) are two priority species in the national and international agendas for marine protection. We observe that while the measures taken by the State, since 1949, show a growing commitment to sustainable management of the region, there are limitations in the design and implementation of concrete actions for their protection. Some possible reasons the tools have proven to be ineffective are: there has been no consistency between the goals of fisheries and conservation sectors; the decrees are not clear on how they will achieve success; the fishers have not been sufficiently or appropriately informed about the harm done by their work practices and they only respond to their needs and interests; there is not enough honest inspection and surveillance, so illegal and improper practices occur. The case of totoaba has been handled in a way that is clearly ineffective, because the instruments have focused on the protection of adults without regard to juveniles. This is possibly because the decrees have tried not to interfere with shrimp fishing at sea.
- Marine endangered species
- Marine environmental policy instruments
- Marine protected areas
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Geography, Planning and Development
- Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law