Magdalena Bay Artisanal Shrimp Fishery Improvement Project

Last Update July 2017

Yellow leg shrimp (Farfantepenaeus californiensis)
Blue shrimp (Litopenaeus stylirostris)

FIP Scope/Scale: Stocks level

Fishery Location: Magdalena Bay, southwestern coast of Baja California Peninsula, Mexico

FIP Contact: If you would like more information about the FIP or wish to support the FIP, please contact Northern Chef

FIP Participants:
1. Northern Chef
2. COVIMAR de San Carlos (Processor)
3. Pesca Responsable y Comercio Justo

FIP Stakeholders:
• Secretaría de Pesca y Acuacultura de Baja California Sur, Pesca-BCS
• Comisión Nacional de Acuacultura y Pesca, CONAPESCA
• Instituto Nacional de Pesca, INAPESCA

Sustainability Information:
For sustainability information in FishSource see: Yellow leg shrimp, Pacific blue shrimp

Date Publicly Announced: 2008

FIP Stage: 4, FIP is delivering improvement in fishing policies or practices

Current Improvement Recommendations:
• Request the legal verification of fishing gear and landings
• Align procurement policies and processing specifications to the fishery regulations
• Improve the landings registry and provide information to INAPESCA to maintain updated the stocks evaluation

Shrimp in the Northwest Pacific coast of Mexico, including the Gulf of California, is the most important fishery in México. It holds first place in the economic value of landings, averaging 260 million USD. It is also the primary fishery in terms of number of vessels (750 bottom trawlers and about 16,000 small-scale vessels) and number of direct jobs (37,000 direct jobs and 75,000 indirect jobs); and the third largest in volume with annual landings of approximately 40,000 tons during a season that runs from September through March.

The Magdalena Bay shrimp fishery generates annual landings of 3 million pounds with a value of 15 million USD. Seventy percent of the total landings are yellow leg shrimp and 30 percent are blue shrimp. The market is divided between the United States (65 percent in different added-value presentations including easy peel, PND, IQF) and the domestic market (35 percent, in the form of fresh and 5-lb. frozen blocks).

The fishery is conducted in 27-foot-long vessels equipped with outboard motors and, in the case of yellow leg shrimp, equipped with a 35 foot head rope bottom trawl; while for the blue shrimp the gear utilized is the Suripera, a modified cast net. In both cases the fishing unit is operated by two fishermen who conduct daily trips, usually nocturnal for yellow leg and diurnal for blue shrimp.

In 2008, Tai Foong/Northern Chef, whose operations account for 70 percent of the exports, approached SFP to start a fishery improvement project. Initial steps included an evaluation, based upon published information of the fishery status, and then contracting the development of an MSC pre-assessment in order to identify improvements needed.

The fishery is regulated by the Mexican Official Standard NOM-002-SAG/PESC-2013 (here) which establishes access controls (fishing licenses and concessions), fishing gear and fishing grounds restrictions. CONAPESCA opens and closes the fishing season according to the scientific advise provided by INAPESCA which has a continues monitoring program on the stocks. Last abundance estimations indicate that both stocks yields are below the historic averages but with a strong recovery trend.

FIP Objectives:
1. Maintain the fishery environmental performance at the documented levels
2. Collaborate with INAPESCA on the information collection for improving the stock assessments
3. Implement traceability and legal verification systems

Progress Update:

July – September
• CONAPESCA published in August 2012 the Carta Nacional Pesquera 2012 with the stocks status report
• Detailed FIP workplan posted publicly
• Management plan development process started with an initial meeting on late September

October – December
• The Mexican Pacific shrimp fishery management plan (which includes Magdalena Bay shrimp) final version was published for public consultation.
January – March
• The new shrimp fishery Mexican Official Standard (NOM-002) was published by CONAPESCA for public consultation. The Magdalena Bay FIP prepared a proposal for modifications, which is currently being revised by the suppliers. It is expected this will be submitted to CONAPESCA in early April 2013.
• Tai Foong/Northern Chef sent a letter to Mario Aguilar, the new National Commissioner for Aquaculture and Fisheries in Mexico, requesting the release of the fishing gear evaluation report and the eventual authorization of the predominant fishing gear used in the area.
• CONAPESCA answered Tai Foong/Northern Chef’s request mentioning that, at the time of the answer, CONAPESCA had not yet received the report from INAPESCA but that they were going to request it to analyze the feasibility of authorizing the fishing gear being used.
April – July
• Suppliers unilaterally decided not to present the modifications proposal to the new fishery regulations (NOM-002) arguing that, in conversations with INAPESCA representatives, they informed them that their evaluation resulted in a positive opinion for authorization of the gear being used.
• INAPESCA/CONAPESCA made publicly available the evaluation report (dated March 2013). Rather than comparing the predominantly-used gear (Magdalena II) to that required by the existing regulations, the evaluation compared it to a prototype developed by INAPESCA known as RS-INP-MX. The report conclusions recommend the authorization of the RS-INP-MX instead of the Magdalena II.
• SAGARPA/CONAPESCA published in the Diario Oficial de la Federación(DOF, Mexico’s Official Gazette) the new NOM-002, which continues to require the use of the Magdalena I fishing gear authorized in 2001 and that producers never used.
August – December
• INAPESCA, upon request from FIP participants and producers, conducted training workshops in the correct use of the Magdalena I gear. Around 450 crews were trained.
• Baja California Sur State Government provided funding for the trained vessels to adapt their fishing gear to the Magdalena I technical requirements.
• The fishing season started with all of the producers utilizing the Magdalena I configuration in their fishing activities.
• CONAPESCA and State Government have been conducting inspections to verify the use of the required gear since the beginning of the season.

During 2014, The FIP focused on analyzing the bycatch information collected from 2010 to 2013. Latest data show that 9 fish species are the predominant in b the fishery bycatch:

In terms of bycatch volume, the data collected show that the fishery continues generating an average of 1 Kg of shrimp per kilogram of bycatch as reported by INAPESCA in 1998, 2000, 2010 and 2012, being one of the trawl fisheries with the lowest shrimp: to bycatch ratio worldwide.



The FIP developed and agreed on the 2016-2018 work plan.

Click here for a comprehensive description of FIP results



















November 2016

· In September 2016, the project contracted Francisco Javier Gutierrez, MSc. From the Laboratory of fishes ecology at the Interdisciplinary Center of Marine Sciences (CICIMAR) to continue the bycatch monitoring and evaluation for the fishery.
· MSc. Gutierrez proposal include to conduct monthly analysis of captures to determine bycatch, target ration, bycatch composition and dominance and relative abundances. The technical proposal can be reviewed here (please make the “here” a hyperlink to the attached technical proposal.
· The first bycatch analysis of the 2016 season was conducted during the last week of September

The bycatch monitoring and assessment for the 2016-2017 was conducted from September 2016 to March 2017. A total of 21 vessels participated which provided bycatch samples and shrimp captures data for close to 200 fishing hauls along the season.

Ju;ly 2017

Data analysis show the bycatch: shrimp ratio continues to be on the 1:1 range as previously reported by this project and other research efforts conducted in the past. Regarding the bycatch composition, eight species have the highest relative abundance in the bycatch. None of them reported at risk by the IUCN. If you are interested in receiving a copy of the full report please send an email to———————-

Species RII IUCN
Eucinostomus argenteus 258.28 LC
Etropus crossotus 108.12 LC
Paralabrax maculatofasciatus 29.28 LC
Diplectrum pacificum 14.34 LC
Bellator xenisma 2.21 LC
Achirus mazatlanus 0.7 LC
Pseudopenneus grandisquamis 0.29 LC
Sphoeroides lobatus 0.16 LC

RII= Relative Importance Index

IUCN Categories:

NE: Not Evaluated
EN: Endangered
DD: Data defficient
CR: Critically Endangered
LC: Least Concern
EW: Extinct in the Wild
NT: Near Threatened
EX: Extinct

VU. Vulnerable