PANGUEROS FISHING WITH HAND LINES AND GILL NETS
April 24, 2005, Bob Grimes, Ixtapa Zihuatanejo, Mexico Commercial Gill Net Fishing Report:
Last night I got back from the Ixtapa Zihuatanejo area. In the Troncones area, a famous surfing area, about 30 miles north of Zihuatanejo, I fished with a panguero and caught small skipjack, small needlefish, and jacks. There is heavy gill netting in this area. There were about 15 gill nets in the pangas and on the beach in the tiny village of Majahua alone. Not many fish of any size survive.
This time of year, the pangueros leave the bay with hand lines and gill nets around sundown, and return before sunrise, and I was on the beach as they came in. The primary target, because it brings a high price, is huachinango, or red snapper. Most of the adults were caught long ago, and most of the huachinango they catch are about a half-pound in size.
These commercial pangueros from the cooperativa also illegally bring in sailfish and dorado, including baby dorado from one to two pounds. They also bring in whatever else they catch, including an occasional pargo, amberjack, bonito, perch, and even needlefish. I saw thousands of fish that they had caught, and I would estimate that about 98 percent were one pound or smaller.
According to the fishermen and fish sellers, there is an ever declining number of ever smaller fish. Some of the decimation of the fish in Baja California and Baja California Sur in recent years has been caused by commercial fishermen who left the fished out coasts of states such as Guerrero, Sonora and Sinaloa to take their gill nets and diving gear to Baja California and Baja California Sur.
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