Mexico is a country with great marine diversity and it is estimated that over 300,000 families depend on fishing as their main economic activity. However, according to the National Fisheries and Aquaculture Commission (CONAPESCA), more than 40 percent of fishing in Mexico is illegal, putting marine ecosystems at risk.
Illegal fishing displaces fishermen who do pay taxes and respect fishing closures. "When fishermen go to sea, they find themselves in a desert where they are incapable of getting the necessary product to pay debts for fuel and engines or even to eat," said Renata Terrazas, Director of OCEANA México, during the forum "Challenges of Fishing in Mexico."
OCEANA is an international organization that focuses on the protection of the oceans through the recovery of fisheries, fighting illegal fishing and creating marine protected areas. Since 2018, the organization has worked toward the approval of the fish and shellfish traceability norm, which CONAPESCA has been analyzing since March 2021.
To address this situation, OCEANA partnered up with restaurateurs to showcase the importance of understanding how to fishing supply chain works through the initiative #DelBarcoAlPlato. Since restaurants are the main consumers of fish and shellfish, they play a fundamental role to promote responsible consumption.
Traceability systems provide information on the route of fishery products, from the boat to the plate of the final consumer, through collection centers, storage plants, transport, markets, shops and any other point through which the product passes.
Traceability is internationally recognized as an effective control strategy applied to the production and marketing chains of fishery and aquaculture products to ensure sustainability in the process and protect consumers interests. “Without knowing it, we can consume an endangered species or an illegal fishing product. We may be contributing to the overexploitation of fish stocks, because we ignore what is caught, how much, where and how. Not being sure about the origin of the species makes it difficult to make responsible consumption decisions," highlighted Mariana Aziz, Transparency Director, OCEANA Mexico.
Through the #DelBarcoAlPlato initiative, OCEANA is committed to providing quality, national and legal marine products. Customers of participant restaurants will find a QR code on their tables, which they will be able to scan to access a website where they will learn about traceability systems. The ultimate goal is to form a network of conscious people who demand public policies that will allow them to exercise their rights as consumers, while protecting the seas and benefiting local fishing communities.