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Investigaciones geográficas

versión On-line ISSN 2448-7279versión impresa ISSN 0188-4611


CAMPOS FLORES, Giselle Jazmín  y  CRESPO GUERRERO, José Manuel. Spatial organization of commercial coastal fishing in the Laguna de Términos Wildlife Protection Area, Mexico. Invest. Geog [online]. 2018, n.96. ISSN 2448-7279.

Fishing is a economic activity of feeding and social relevance, which provides work and income for an important part of the population living in coastal areas. One of the environmental issues currently faced by these communities is the overexploitation of marine resources, in turn leading to their deterioration. Protected natural areas that allow extractive activities such as fishing, have a-priori land-use and management tools to achieve economic development without compromising their ecosystems.

The research reported here was conducted at the Laguna de Términos Wildlife Protection Area (APFFLT), located in the Mexican state of Campeche. This natural protected area (ANP) stretches across 706 147.67 ha and comprises the largest coastal lagoon in Mexico, Laguna de Términos, which is part of the ecological complex of the coastal plain system formed by the Grijalva and Usumacinta rivers. It is clearly suitable for fishing activities, both in inland waters and in the Gulf of Mexico, in fact being the most productive ANP in terms of fishery catches.

This research revealed the organization system of fishing in APFFLT under the theory of the spatial organization of the economy. Various sources of information were considered. On the one hand, quantitative and cartographic sources provided by Mexican public institutions. on the other hand, qualitative sources from office and field investigations. From the literature review, the information was classified into three types: scientific, administrative, and journalism. Separately, field work included two visits to the study area. Three interview guidelines were developed: different semi-structured questionnares to be administered to fishers or administrative officials (heads of cooperatives, licensees and workhouse workers); and a unstructured guideline for staff of government and academic institutions.

The qualitative analysis of the data collected was carried out using the inductive method. We used the constant-comparison aproach and axial coding weeking similary patterns between the various open responses. Specialized maps were built with official data and the results of the analysis of closed answers .

The results of the research analyzed according to the economic organization, production and marketing, reveal the existence of three zones with unique dynamics: Northeastern (Isla Aguada and Sabancuy); Central (Ciudad del Carmen); and Southwestern (Atasta, Nuevo Campechito and Palizada). It is shown that the spatial organization of fishing activities depends primarily on how the resource is exploited, abundance and price of fishing products, fishing technology used, regulations currently in force, social and collective structure of fishers, and interconnectivity with communication and transport routes that distribute production to consumers.

Likewise, the production and marketing models show two trends: one, linked to artisanal schemes characterized by the dominance of family economic structures, low production, lack of storage and transportation infrastructure, and an essentially local marketing scope that restrains profits; the other is more industrial, involving dynamic economic units that are more productive and targeting species of medium and high commercial value; these units invest in infrastructure and focus on finding marketing channels of greater scope -- a strategy that ultimately leads to higher revenue.

The irruption of international markets and the arrival of foreign investment have impacted not only the way of fishing, but its spatial configuration as well; the fishing pressure on the ANP is significant, being overwhelmed by a steady increase of fishers and boats, beyond the fishing licensed issued.

The APFFLT management program has not participated in the management of local fisheries, and in spite of the existence of a fisheries management tool such as the National Fishing Chart, in reality this is merely a document of good intentions. In addition, the Fisheries and Aquaculture Master Plan for the State of Campeche approved in 2013, is unfortunately not yielding the desired results yet.

Fishing in the APFFLT involves major challenges, some related to the oil extraction in its vicinity; others, to the presence of emerging intensive African palm-tree plantations; and finally others associated with the organization of the fishing sector itself. Indeed, initiating the latter requires to gain knowledge on the spatial organization of commercial coastal fishing, which is the subject of this research article.

Palabras llave : Fishing activities; economic geography; natural protected areas; Campeche.

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