The fishing effort of a Sinaloa crab fishery in the Gulf of California in 2014 was analysed based on fishermen’s interviews, official catches and permits, and information from a sample of fishing logbooks from five fishery cooperatives operating in four coastal lagoons that contained the daily catch from individual fishing trips. Unauthorized gear, a double-ring net (DR), was used most frequently (>70% of the fishers) for crab fishing, although authorized single-ring nets and Chesapeake traps (CT) were also used with low frequency. The estimated fishing effort was 641 boats/day in the four coastal lagoons, which was 34% more than authorized, and 818 boats/day were employed in all of Sinaloa. A total of 57 479 fishing gears were estimated for the study area, which was 49.9% greater than the maximum authorized number, and 80 822 nominal fishing gears were estimated for the entire Sinaloa crab fishery, 14.15% more than the total gear limit (70 800). The size of the mesh used in the gear was smaller than the authorized limit of 76 mm, and >50% of the catches included crabs of unlawful size. It is argued that the effort must be regulated in terms of the number of vessels, per unit time, and not the number of gears. The information from this study demonstrates a failure to monitor compliance with current regulations and thus means that other strategies for the sustainable management of the fishery, such as co-management, should be tested.
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