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  • Mexico

    For immediate release

    Economic impact of sport fishing in Los Cabos is huge The Billfish Foundation study shows anglers generate billion dollar industry in Baja Sur

    CABO SAN LUCAS, Mexico --- It was once a small, quiet fishing destination at the southern tip of Mexico’s Baja peninsula, but a recently released socio-economic study that reports the enormous effect sport fishing tourism brings to the area -- over a billion dollars a year – is reverberating through the country and beyond.
    The comprehensive research study commissioned by The Billfish Foundation (TBF) focused on Baja Sur’s “sport fishing triangle” which includes the Los Cabos communities of East Cape, San Jose del Cabo, and Cabo San Lucas.
    The area in recent years has become a major North American tourist destination driven heavily by its world-class striped marlin fishery and a major provider of jobs and new dollars to Mexico’s economy.
    The 126 page study was conducted in 2007 and 2008 to estimate the dollars, jobs and tax revenues created by anglers in the region. It was produced by Southwick Associates, Inc. of Fernandina Beach, Fla., Nelson Resources Consulting, Inc. of Oakland Park, Fla. and Firmus Consulting of Mexico City, Mexico.
    TBF, which works with governments worldwide advancing the conservation of billfish and associated species to improve the health of oceans and regional economies, has been assisting in the Baja Sur region since 2002. Dr. Russell Nelson, TBF’s chief scientist along with Guillermo Alvarez, TBF’s Mexican conservation director said information was needed to communicate the importance of Los Cabos fisheries to its local, state and national leaders.
    Nelson said a series of surveys were conducted of visitors, both anglers and non-anglers, to gain an understanding of the number of people who fish in Los Cabos and the dollars spent. Additional surveys were conducted of various business sectors to develop the information needed to construct a model of the region’s sport fishing economy. Dozens of interviews followed with business, sport fishing, political and tourism leaders to learn about the nuances of the regional economy and how it provides for visitors.

    Over 24,000 jobs created, over one billion in economic activity
    The study showed in 2007, 354,013 people, most all of them international visitors, fished in Los Cabos. While there they spent an estimated $633.6 million dollars for lodging, charter boats, food, transportation, tackle, fuel, and more. These expenditures started a series of cascading economic effects in the local economy, creating:
    • 24,426 jobs,
    • $ 245.5 U.S. million in local and federal tax revenues, and
    • $ 1.125 U.S. billion in total economic activity.
    “A good way to view these impacts is to consider that, if everybody who fished in Los Cabos had not visited in 2007, the regional economy would have been $1.125 billion smaller,” said Rob Southwick, lead economist in the research effort. “That means there would have been 24,426 fewer jobs, and government coffers would have been poorer by $245.5 million.
    “Visitors who fish there provide an estimated 24.1 percent of the total Los Cabos economy. A job is supported for every $18,156 in retail sales. Every dollar spent by anglers generated $1.78 in economic activity in the region and every visiting angler generated $721.99 in local and federal tax revenues.”
    Additional benefits accrued were Los Cabos angler expenditures generating an added $145 U.S. million to Mexico’s Gross Domestic Product; 10,469 additional jobs created elsewhere in Mexico and $75 U.S. million in taxes added to the federal coffers.

    Dorado, marlin are desired species by anglers --- and commercial pirates as well
    The report revealed the most targeted species of interest for sport fishermen were dorado (also known as dolphinfish and mahi-mahi) registering nearly 95% with a success catch rate of over 81%. Marlin were second at nearly 90% with a success rate of over 82% and tuna were the third most popular at over 86% with a 75% success rate among the 10 species listed.
    Ironically the dorado, a species that under Mexican fisheries law is supposed to be strictly relegated for sport fishing, has for years attracted the interests of illegal commercial long-lining and netting in the Sea of Cortez (Gulf of California) waters. A controversial new regulation NOM-029 allows for the “incidental” harvest of billfish, dorado and other species within Mexico’s 24 year-old conservation zones. Recent seizures of illegal dorado catches in the tons has also produced headlines in Mexican newspapers and attention to the commercial “fishing mafia.”
    “This destructively affects fishing resources and the millions in tourist dollars that also support sport fishing such as catch-and-release for striped marlin in the region,” said Nelson.
    Over 2,000 people were surveyed including anglers who fished Los Cabos, U.S. anglers who had never fished the area and Los Cabos businesses, providing a first-time look at the ideas and attitudes of those visiting the area and its potential untapped market.
    Nelson said 88 percent of international anglers who have fished in Cabo said they would be less likely to return if they knew the commercial harvest of billfish increased.
    ”Nearly 80% said they would be more likely to return to fish if catch-and-release fishing was required for billfish, while nearly 83% of the anglers who targeted marlin on their trip to Los Cabos were successful in catching at least one of the marlin species available. Only 63% of these angling visitors said that they would choose to return to Los Cabos for another fishing trip. “We believe this reflects the high demand placed on quality of the fishing experiences and the highly competitive nature of the international sport fishing tourism market.”
    Currently, anglers are reporting a slightly lower rate of satisfaction with their visits to Los Cabos compared to general hotel and timeshare guests.
    “If Mexico desires to maintain or maximize the wealth provided by sport fishing tourism, intelligent decisions regarding conservation-based fisheries management will be necessary,” said Alvarez. “Communicating these policies and the quality of the region’s fisheries to U.S. anglers is critical to continued or increased sport fishing tourism activity. This report provides some of the information needed to make such informed decisions in developing fisheries policy for Mexico’s future.”
    TBF President Ellen Peel said the report has been distributed to industry, state and federal government and academic interests in Mexico. Presentations on the results before the national Chamber of Commerce in Mexico City are anticipated in October.
    “This is the information we have been asked for by the government over and over,” said Minera Saenz owner of Minerva’a Baja Tackle, and a sport fishing conservation activist. “Now TBF has given us the answers we need to increase support for conservation and sport fishing tourism.”
    The complete report in English and Spanish with all survey results is available online at the TBF web site: www.billfish.org.
    To contact Dr. Nelson please e-mail him at DrRSNNC@aol.com or by phone at 561-449-9637. Ms. Peel can be reached at 800-438-8247 ex.108 or via e-mail at ellen_peel@billfish.org
    Established in 1986 The Billfish Foundation is the only non-profit organization dedicated solely to conserving and enhancing billfish populations around the world. With headquarters in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., USA, TBF has a comprehensive network of members and supporters which includes anglers, captains, mates, tournament directors, clubs, sport fishing and tourism businesses. By coordinating efforts and speaking with one voice, the organization works for solutions that are good for billfish, not punitive to recreational anglers and good for the local economy.
    ###
    9/22/2008
    TBF PR Counsel/contact: Pete Johnson, Johnson Communications, Inc.
    Scottsdale, Ariz., USA
    480-951-3654 (ph) 480-951-0040 (fax)
    JohnsonCom@aol.com (e-mail)
    Saltwater Fishing Articles & More by Outdoor Writer Jerry LaBella
    http://www.jerrylabella.com/forums
    http://jerrylabella.com

  • #2
    Mexico's Senators applaud TBF’s efforts on sportfishing

    For immediate release

    Mexico's Senators applaud TBF’s efforts on sportfishing/conservation bill;
    continues to face strong opposition from commercial fishing lobbyists


    MEXICO CITY, Mexico – Though backed with a stronger sportfishing/conservation bill currently on the Senate floor in Mexico City that would close major loopholes in the current law, its proponents now face opposition from political and commercial fishing interests pushing legislation to open the dorado fishery more.
    For over two decades dorado (also called dolphinfish, mahi-mahi or goldmakrele) along with billfish (striped marlin, sailfish, etc.), tarpon and roosterfish have been regulated as sport fish in Mexican waters. But a controversial directive, 15 NOM-029 also known as “Shark Norma,” authorized by Mexico’s fisheries agency CONAPESCA in May 2008, allows for the “incidental” harvest of billfish, dorado and other species within Mexico’s conservation zones. The area has long attracted the illegal fishing interests in the Sea of Cortez (Gulf of California) waters and Pacific Ocean coasts and tons of illegal dorado shipments into the United States.
    Based on a multi-year socio-economic study by The Billfish Foundation (TBF), the new conservation bill was introduced by Senators Luis Alberto Coppola Joffroy and Humberto Andrade Quezada with endorsements by Sen. Jaime Rafael Díaz Ochoa, Sen. Luis Fernando Rodríguez Lomelí and Sen. Emma Lucía Larios Gaxiola. In March it received unanimous support by the Congress of the Mexican State of Baja California Sur (BCS).
    But members of Mexico’s PRD (Party of Democratic Revolution) political faction countered by introducing an initiative to allow dorado to be harvested by commercial fishermen contrary to the law that regulates dorado, billfish and other species as sport fish only.
    In turn Coppola and Andrade, both members of the conservative National Action Party (PAN) brought to the Senate floor in May a proposed “agreement with arguments” against the dorado commercial fishery. It too received the Senate’s full support in late May.
    For both of their conservation initiatives the senators used TBF’s study that revealed sportfishing tourism added over $630 million dollars annually directly to the BCS economy.

    Study: 24,000 jobs created in Los Cabos region; one billion dollars in economic activity
    The study led by TBF Science Director Dr. Russell Nelson and Rob Southwick, Southwick & Associations, Inc., revealed 354,013 people fished in Los Cabos in 2007, most all of them international visitors spending an estimated $633.6 million (U.S.) dollars for lodging, charter boats, food, transportation, tackle, fuel and more. Positive cascading economic effects in the local economy included the creation of 24,426 jobs, $245.5 million (U.S.) in local and federal tax revenues, and $1.125 billion (U.S.) in total economic activity. Visitors who fish there provided an estimated 24.1 percent of the total Los Cabos economy the report disclosed.
    Specific waters includes the Pacific and Gulf of Mexico coasts 50 miles out and an additional large area off Cabo that extends about 150 miles north and south and 100 miles out from the coast. Coppola’s bill would clearly eliminate the commercial market’s sale and the possibility of any bycatch exceptions for billfish, dorado, tarpon and roosterfish protected by the existing conservation zones.

    Original bill may sit through the summer
    But that bill will likely sit until after a summer-long recess in August, when the three year terms of the PRD’s lame-duck congressmen end and the new congressmen’s terms begin.
    “Before the ‘war’ can be won, i.e. the passage of the Coppola’s bill for sportfishing and conservation, he must wait for the ‘battle’ to be won,” characterized Guillermo Alvarez, TBF's Mexican conservation director, of the situation. “We hope over the summer Senators Coppola and Andrade can gain even more support among other lawmakers in the 31 states of Mexico.”
    In a letter thanking TBF President Ellen Peel, a spokesman for the two senators wrote, “Mexico can not afford to divert from its sport fish conservation tradition and we will not tolerate this (commercial harvesting of dorado, etc.) to happen.”
    “In difficult times - as we are going through because of the influenza outbreak - competitiveness lies on sportfishing as TBF’s economic research shows,” stated Joel Macias de Lara who coordinates the senator’s advisory group.
    Wire service reports in late May announced Mexico was spending $90 million to attract tourists after the severe fallout of visitors led by the news on the country’s flu epidemic. Because of the flu Los Cabos saw several major tournaments postponed or cancelled.
    “TBF’s recent socio-economic study in the Baja Sur region of the country makes clear that billfishing is an important economic stimulus to the nation, therefore billfish, dorado and other species important to anglers should be protected,” said Ms. Peel.
    “The Billfish Foundation applauds Senator Coppola for his two current initiatives now in Congress. He once again is demonstrating his strong commitment to good conservation and a strong economy. Senator Coppola understands that good conservation pays. Many areas in Mexico are famous and were economically strong not too long ago because of sportfishing. But if the fish important to sportfishing are allowed to be sold, then anglers and their dollars will go to other nations to fish. TBF urges the Senate to join forces with Coppola for the good of the country, its economy, the fish and the ocean.”
    To read Senator Coppola’s bill and proposal in both English and Spanish, along with the letter thanking TBF’s efforts, go to TBF’s web site at www.billfish.org
    Established in 1986 by the late Winthrop P. Rockefeller, The Billfish Foundation is the only non-profit organization dedicated solely to conserving and enhancing billfish populations worldwide. With world headquarters in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., USA, TBF’s comprehensive network of members and supporters includes anglers, captains, mates, tournament directors, clubs, sportfishing and tourism businesses. By coordinating efforts and speaking with one voice, the organization works for solutions that are good for billfish, not punitive to recreational anglers and good for the local economy. TBF’s phone number is 800-438-8247.
    ###

    Note to editors: TBF’s Ms. Peel can be reached at 800-438-8247 ex.108 or via e-mail at ellen_peel@billfish.org . Contact Dr. Nelson at DrRSNNC@aol.com or by phone at 561-449-9637.

    5/28/2009 TBF PR counsel - Pete Johnson, Johnson Communications,
    Scottsdale, Ariz., USA
    480-951-3654 (ph)
    JohnsonCom@aol.com
    Saltwater Fishing Articles & More by Outdoor Writer Jerry LaBella
    http://www.jerrylabella.com/forums
    http://jerrylabella.com

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