After a 3-hour drive through the Sonoran Desert, we arrived at Puerto Libertad in time to see a presentation by a fisher-woman from a small-scale fishing cooperative in Ligüi, a small town on the Baja Peninsula. This presentation, along with a series of others, was given to the fishing community in Puerto Libertad and supported by the non-profit Comunindad Y Biodiversidad (COBI). Through these presentations, COBI hoped to inform the fishing community about successful collective management strategies and to illustrate the importance of biodiversity research. I found this meeting particularly interesting because the audience, made up of local fishers, was entirely men, and the presenters were both women. Initially I thought this would create tension and make the fishermen less perceptive to the information in the presentation, but after having a majority of the meeting translated (via Xavier), I realized that the fishermen were extremely engaged in the conversation and willing to listen and learn.
Our visit to Puerto Libertad combined a variety of experiences that I chose to communicate through photos. Enjoy!
Puerto Libertad coast complete with beautiful tide pools and a power plant.
Bumper stickers found throughout Puerto Libertad roughly translated: “For a Better Fishery”, “For Kino I Decide to Respect my Island”, and “From Fishermen to Fishermen”.
After a chilly night of camping on the coast, we woke up and had campfire coffee with María José, a program coordinator at COBI, and Claudia, the fisherwoman from Ligüi. We discussed our impressions of the meeting and had some open conversation about challenges María José has faced in the field. Once the fire died, we hiked through the desert filled with cacti and flowering shrubs. Xavier stopped frequently to talk about the unique ecology and plants found in the Sonoran Desert.
The goal of our morning hike was to see the “Boojum” trees and no joke they are straight out of a Dr. Seuss book. According to Seri legend, boojum trees were created from a group of giants that fled Puerto Libertad during a great flood. The flood caught up with them and turned them into these crazy looking trees!
We sat down to a well-earned lunch at the La Palapa Restaurant where we enjoyed some ceviche and limonada. Raemundo, a local fisherman, joined us. Food has played a central role in facilitating conversations and building relationships throughout our trip. Sitting down to a meal brings people together and creates a comfortable atmosphere for sharing thoughts, asking questions, and having some laughs.
Fishing pangas in Puerto Libertad. There was an entire fleet of “Crazy” boats!
The last stop in Puerto Libertad was the fish-house where Raemundo lands his catch. We saw a variety of fish including the yellow-tail “tuna” pictured above.