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Coastal Exploitation Throughout Marismas Nacionales Wetlands in Northwest Mexico

TitleCoastal Exploitation Throughout Marismas Nacionales Wetlands in Northwest Mexico
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2017
AuthorsRubio-Cisneros N.T, Aburto-Oropeza O, Jackson J., Ezcurra E.
JournalTropical Conservation Science
Date Published2017/04
Type of ArticleArticle
ISBN Number1940-0829
Accession NumberWOS:000409525700001
Keywordscoastal exploitation; collapse; conservation; coral-reefs; degradation; ecosystems; food webs; gulf-of-california; landscape changes; management; Northwest Mexico; small-scale fisheries; wetlands

The consequences of human exploitation on wetlands remain unresolved for many regions. Marismas Nacionales wetland in Northwest Mexico is a Ramsar site and a Biosphere Reserve at Mexico. By integrating literature sources, fisheries data, and field studies, this study shows how long-term coastal exploitation has contributed to subsequent declines in fishery resources and the wetland health. Oysters declined in prehistoric times and potentially recovered during the Spanish occupation. Further, overexploitation of oyster banks in the mid-19th century diminished oysters' populations by early 20th century. Then, inshore fishing cooperatives flourished and exploited shrimp and finfish. These fisheries seemed sustainable until outboard motors and nylon nets populated estuaries. Government subsidies and free-market policies of late 20th century exacerbated fishing effort and disrupted social organization of fishing cooperatives which lead to widespread illegal and unsustainable fishing practices. Currently, the seemingly subtle shifts in artisanal fishing techniques have modified Marismas' food webs. These results can help develop conservation guidelines for wetlands ecosystem services and be a reference for managers in other countries where long-term data of wetlands exploitation is limited.

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