GILL NETS SET BY LOS CABOS COMMERCIAL FISHING BOATS
April 16, 2005, Bob Grimes, San Jose del Cabo, Baja California Sur, Mexico Fisheries Regulation Enforcement Report:
Last weekend Dave Grimes and Tim Gunther camped at Punta Salsipuedes, just north of Ensenada, and went out in their kayaks. A few years ago they would catch a lot of halibut, including some over 30 pounds, at Salsipuedes. Now there are gill nets all over the place at Salsipuedes, and the only halibut they caught was 20 inches. We have seen them in every area of Baja California, all up and down both sides of the peninsula, and they are still being used.
In some areas, like San Jose del Cabo (Los Cabos), the gill netters set their nets primarily at night and bring them in before the sportfishing boats come by in the morning, but in many areas, like Salsipuedes, they just leave them there.
When they are busy or distracted or the weather is bad, the gill netters leave the nets for days at a time without checking them, and the fish rot in the warm water.
There is sometimes a flurry of activity from the authorities when whales drown in the gill nets and environmentalists complain. However, Mexican fishermen who we have spoken to in San Jose Del Cabo, Bahia Magdalena, Punta Abreojos, Bahia Asuncion, Bahia de Los Angeles and other places all tell us that the authorities rarely interfere with illegal gill nets.
The authorities do sometimes check the paperwork of the sportfishing operations, primarily as a way to get money from them. They do nothing to enforce the sportfishing limits. The only real enforcement of the Mexican fishing regulations occurs in the areas on the mid and northern Pacific coast where the cooperativas have their own vigilantes to protect the lobster and abalone fisheries. The only area in Baja California where it is pretty difficult for gill netters to operate is the Bahia de Palmas region, where the Van Wormers, John Ireland, and the other hoteleros work hard to fight illegal commercial fishing practices.
(See "Mexico Fishing News" online for current fishing reports, photos, weather, and water temperatures from San Jose del Cabo and other major Mexican sportfishing areas. Vacation travel articles, fishing maps and seasonal calendars, and fishing related information for San Jose del Cabo may be found at Mexfish.com's main San Jose del Cabo page.