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Endangered species, ecosystem integrity, and human livelihoods

TitleEndangered species, ecosystem integrity, and human livelihoods
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2018
AuthorsAburto-Oropeza O, López-Sagástegui C., Moreno-Baez M., Mascarenas-Osorio I., Jimenez-Esquivel V., Johnson A.F, Erisman B
JournalConservation Letters
Date Published2018/01
Type of ArticleArticle
ISBN Number1755-263X
Accession NumberWOS:000424825900012
KeywordsBiodiversity & Conservation; biodiversity conservation; bycatch; communities; conservation; economics; extinction; Fisheries; gulf-of-california; impacts; management; mexico; population; Shrimp; Trawling; Upper Gulf of California; Vaquita; vaquita marina

If efforts to conserve endangered species lack long-term visions and neglect the human dimensions, conservation success will be questionable. Exclusion of stakeholders in decisions can lead to mistrust and polarization of groups. The story of the vaquita marina (Phocoena sinus) in the Upper Gulf of California provides a unique opportunity to discuss this paradigm. A proposed gear-switch in the regional fisheries addresses the bycatch issue that threatens the vaquita but neglects livelihoods, the traditions and heritage of the community, and the ecological integrity of the area, and it increases dependence on fishing subsidies. We estimate that it will cost an additional US $8.5 million (2/3 of the net revenue produced by gillnets and 30% more in fuel consumption) if local revenues are to be maintained at pregear-switch levels. Additionally, suggested new trawl gears caught 2.7 times more unusable (therefore discarded) bycatch than gillnets, which included invertebrates and small juvenile fishes of economically valuable and endangered species. Our results show that the proposed gear switch intervention can be considered another "quick-fix" intervention in the history of the vaquita conservation agenda that urgently needs long-term goals that adequately incorporate ecological, economic, and human well-being.

Short TitleConserv. Lett.

To date, no long‐term goals have been designed for the UGC and the few collaborative efforts between conservation and extractive sectors have had disappointing results. Conservation policies must consider the extractive sector (in this case, fishers) as partners rather than opponents, to increase compliance and the probability of success. The vaquita conservation agenda should move toward restoring balance between the different groups involved, and immediate attention paid outside of fishery subsidies and high impact fishing gear switches is needed.

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