Restoring Mexico's Gulf of California

We bring catch shares to troubled fisheries on Baja Peninsula

Transforming the Gulf of California

The Gulf of California is one of the richest regions of the world in terms of fishing production and biodiversity. It hosts a great variety of marine species, from highly valued invertebrates, such as lobster or abalone, to big fish and marine mammals.

  • There are just under 900 fish species in the Gulf of California
  • Over 70% of Mexico’s fishing production comes from the Gulf of California

As in many biodiverse and productive fishing regions of the world, overfishing is a threat to both one of the richest large marine ecosystems of Mexico, as well as to the development and wellbeing of the people in the region.

Over 250 thousand families depend directly from fishing activities in the Gulf of California; and almost 2 million households depend on it indirectly.

In EDF de Mexico we are working towards healthy and resilient marine ecosystems, while improving the economic wellbeing of the fishing communities depending on them.

In collaboration with fishing communities, fisheries managers, academia and other civil society organizations we seek to implement an innovative approach for managing fisheries called catch shares, for selected fisheries in the Gulf of California.

Catch shares: Fishing less, maximizing value and stabilizing fisheries

Catch Shares are a fisheries management approach with demonstrated success in helping fisheries all around the world recover while promoting stable and sustainable economic growth.

Catch shares result in fisheries recovery, and long term sustainability of marine resources. It is an approach that works because fishermen can earn more by catching less.

Our work in the Gulf of California

Catch Shares map

EDF de Mexico works to ensure that ecologically and economically important fisheries in the Gulf of California are on a durable path to recovery. Specifically, we focus on:

  • Fishing access rights: Promoting changes to the legal framework that will encourage sustainable fisheries management plans through the promotion of long-term permits (fishing permits and concessions).
  • Finding market solutions: Using market incentives to increase the value of fisheries, instead of taking a higher volume of fish out of the ocean.
  • Supporting science: Funding scientific research for each region, to get more and better information about fisheries in the Gulf of California.
  • Knowledge transfer and exchange: Exchanging knowledge, experiences and ideas with our partner organizations, so we can design, implement and evaluate catch shares programs that suit the needs of all stakeholders—especially local fishermen.

Our Mexico experts

Laura Rodriguez Deputy Director, Mexico Oceans Program Contact Laura

Rafael Ortiz Fisheries Coordinator Contact Rafael

José Fraire Fisheries Evaluation Coordinator Contact José


Cristina Villanueva Manager, Mexican Fisheries Partnerships Contact Cristina

See our full list of Oceans experts »


Our projects

  • Gulf Corvina

    Gulf Corvina: First fin fish fishery under catch shares

    In 2010, EDF de México began working with corvina fishermen in the Upper Gulf of California. Since then, catch shares have gained support from the local communities that depend on this fishery because they have seen benefits in terms of better prices for their catch and a more stable market. In 2012, the corvina fishery adopted the first catch share program for a fin fish fishery in Mexico. Additionally, catch shares continue to be a catalyst for the restoration of the Reserva de la Biosfera del Alto Golfo, the marine protected area in which the fishery takes place, thanks to improved organization. The next step is to include a multispecies management proposal within the reserve.

  • Hake

    Hake: Industrial fishing

    The hake fishery is the first industrial fishery in Mexico that is working towards a catch share program on the Gulf of California. It is unique because it is not yet overfished, so catch shares will be a proactive management step. Hake producers in Puerto Peñasco, Sonora, are certain that with a proper management plan, they will have a healthy and profitable fishery for the long term.

  • Clams and Oysters

    Clams and Oysters: Multispecies Fisheries Management

    Better management for clams and oysters in Altata-Ensenada del Pabellon, Sinaloa, will allow for the recovery of clam populations, increase fishermen participation in decision making through co-management, and safeguard the future of fisheries that provide employment to fishermen in local communities. In conjunction with partner organizations, scientists, academics, governmental authorities and fishermen, we are now working on the design of a catch shares management plan for this multispecies fishery.

Our partners