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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Pesca Limpia en El Salvador: Examining Management Measures for the Use of Artificial Reefs in the Bay of Jiquilisco


The Bay of Jiquilisco in El Salvador is an important region of mangrove forests that serves as a habitat and nursery for many organisms, offers ecological services such as carbon sequestration and erosion control, and provides food and economic opportunity for nearby communities. However, the use of explosives in fishing and other unsustainable practices threaten the bay, its resources, and the people who depend on them. For these reasons, some fishing cooperatives in this region are moving towards more sustainable fishing practices with what they’ve termed “Pesca Limpa”. The Pesca Limpia method discourages the use of explosives and promotes the use of the hook and line method on artificial reefs to support the fishery. The purpose of this project is to explore the feasibility of sustainable artificial reef management in the context of the Bay of Jiquilisco. The social, legal, economic, environmental, and biological conditions of the Bay of Jiquilisco will be discussed to determine the best use of artificial reefs in this region. This study interviewed thirty-seven members of four cooperatives to gain a better understanding of their Pesca Limpia practice and to hear their opinions on the method. During the interviews, all members expressed positive opinions of Pesca Limpia. Cooperative members were well-aware that sustainable fishing practices are better for the environment, better for the fishery, and produce a better quality fish. The interviews also highlighted areas that can be improved upon. From this research and the interviews with fishing cooperatives, we have produced a list of recommendations to promote the sustainable development and management of the artisanal fishery in this region. The recommendations fall into the categories of education and training, collaboration, monitoring, research, policy and regulation, development, planning, and protection.

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