THE FISHERIES OF THE COLOMBIAN PACIFIC: ¿TOWARDS SUSTAINABLE FISHERIES OR SIMPLE EXPLOITATION FOR SURVIVAL?
FINANCIADO POR: One Earth Future Foundation
The objective of this study was to analyze, based on the scientific, socio-economic information and the national legal framework, the level of progress that the fisheries of the Colombian Pacific had to be considered as sustainable activities. The area of study was defined as the Colombian Pacific, both coastal and oceanic. Thus, any study to be included in the analysis should have developed or at least include, the jurisdictional waters of this region. Information was obtained from 554 related documents, directly or indirectly with knowledge of the fisheries and species of fish and invertebrates associated with them in the Colombian Pacific. Of these, 73 were discarded, leaving a total of 481 for analysis. These studies spanned 55 years, between 1962 and 2017 and showed no notable advance in the generation of knowledge until 1975, followed by a slow but sustained growth until 2008 to reach the maximum number of documents between 2010 and 2015 (43.3%), with 2014 being the year with the greatest amount of information generated (11%). The documents generated corresponded mainly to technical reports (35.5%) and to undergraduate theses (28.2%), followed by scientific papers (16.8%) and books (9.5%). Although most of the documents were in electronic format (47.1%), a relatively high number of documents were only in printed format (34.5%). This may indicate some difficulty in accessing a considerable amount of information by anyone interested in the subject. Most documents regarded the coastal zone, whereas in the oceanic areas, there is little scientific progress, except for the area of influence of the Sanctuary of Fauna and Flora Malpelo, which is still much lower than studies of the Valle dell Cauca. Within the coastal zone, quadrant 9 was highlighted, covering most of the Valle del Cauca department. This area has been the epicenter of the largest fishing development in the Pacific and has a large presence of research-focused institutions, reflected in 263 documents.
Based on the list of documents found and feedback from researchers, we identified 19 actors that directly or indirectly are currently related to the construction of scientific knowledge on the fisheries of the Colombian Pacific. This result excludes those that carried out research but which at present do not exist, changed their corporate name, or their missionary mandate no longer includes work in the fishing sector, such as INPA, INCODER and ICA, which have been replaced by the current Fishery Authority, AUNAP. Within this set of actors, we identified those who, due to the geographic coverage of their actions, whether scientific or missionary, cover the entire Pacific coast, as well as those that focus their work on specific areas.
In this document we analyzed all information available about fisheries, biology, ecology, distribution, commercialization, fisheries management actions for several species (ark clams, Dolphinfish, tuna, sharks and batoids) or fisheries categories (shallow and deep water shrimps, small, medium and large pelagic fish) and we address the question ¿is the fishery of this resources sustainable? Thereby, considering the principles and criteria of sustainable fishing established by the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) and, based on the evidence found for these species or groups we found that most fisheries are not sustainable. However, and strictly based on the estimates of MSY, can be considered that the deep-water shrimp fishing is sustainable. This consideration does not ignore that this fishery and the resource itself should receive a strong investment of research and technology in order to maintain population stability, optimize yields and especially make it fully sustainable. Finally, since there is no longer a large-scale directed fishing on small pelagic fish, it is not possible to mention about its sustainability.