We’ve arrived to the land of the real (no high fructose corn syrup) Coca-Cola Classic: Mexico. During our stay in the great state of Sonora, we will be based out of the Prescott College Research Station in Kino Nuevo. The research station is lush by research station standards. We have electricity, hot running water, a large fully equipped kitchen, and spacious common areas.
As Abby mentioned in her blog, we spent our first full day getting to know the Bahia Kino area. Our first stop was to meet up with Amy Hudson Weaver and meet with fishermen of Kino Viejo to check out their catch. Hudson is the Marine Program Coordinator at Sociedad de Historia Natural Niparaja. Niparaja is an NGO based in La Paz, Baja California Sur, Mexico that works to better understand fisheries and to promote better practices and management systems. Although she is now based in Baja California Sur, Hudson has been associated with the Kino community for over 15 years and came to Kino as a Prescott College student in the 1990s.
The Gulf of California is extremely rich with marine species and commercial fishing is an important economic activity throughout the Gulf. Fishing has been an important economic activity in the Kino Viejo community since the 1940s. The diversity of the Kino fishery makes it a very productive and adaptable fishery. Thus, this complex, multi-species fishery is ever-changing.
Husdon has worked extensively with fishermen in this area and offered some insight into the history, evolution, trends and management structure of fisheries in Mexico. She spoke to the many complex issues surrounding fisheries management and perhaps the most enlightening part of our conversation was about the human dimension of fisheries. She discussed the role of gender in working with a primarily male-dominated arena and the importance of maintaining a presence within fishing communities to establish trust not only with fishermen but also with their families. Most importantly, she highlighted the importance of healthy and resilient communities in order to achieve successful conservation.
Hudson is well connected with the communities where she works and the resources on which they depend. First-hand accounts from such dynamic and forward thinking individuals make DUML’s field courses invaluable experiences and Hudson’s story is one of those: powerful, inspiring, and honest.