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Conapesca Announces Sea Cucumber Fishing Ban

MEXICO - The head of the National Commission of Aquaculture and Fisheries (Conapesca), Ramon Corral Avila, has announced plans for a closed fishing season on sea cucumber in the regions of Campeche and Yucatn. The closed season comes as an enhancement to the already established fishing season as it aims to improve the sustainable management of the species.

After meeting with over 60 representatives of fishery organisations and licence holders, naval and local authorities, traders and representatives of the media, Mr Avila said that the sea cucumber fishery closed on the 14th May and would not be open again till the 1st February 2012. In addition, he commented that this next fishing season would only be open from the 1st February till the 31st March 2012.

Conapesca authorities highlighted that the aim of the programme is not only to benefit the fishermen and traders, but also the social sector.

Mr Avila said that two working groups had ben established. The groups will evaluate the results in the operation of fishing licences granted to capture cucumber from 1st April to 14th May, 2011, and to define how the permits will be delivered in 2012.

One of these working groups will be composed of representatives of Conapesca, the National Fishery Institute (Inapesca), the Federal Delegation Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock, Rural Development, Fisheries and Food (Sagarpa) in Yucatán and fishermen.

The other group will consist of representatives of Conapesca, the National Health Service, Agri-food Safety and Quality (Senasica), the Delegation of Sagarpa and sea cucumber traders, who work in that fishery certification process.

"What was made clear is that sea cucumber is not an ideal species to make a fortune, it's just an alternative fishery activity that allows fishermen to support themselves during the fishing bans in the region's traditional fisheries, such as octopus, grouper and lobster. As well as thism it contributes to generate economic activity in those municipalities in the cucumber fishing area,” Mr Avila stated.

However, one federal officer highlighted the fact that since January more than 95,000 kilograms of illegally caught sea cucumber had been seized in Yucatan.

the Fish Site Editor

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