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Management alternatives for the yellowfin tuna fishery in the Mexican Exclusive Economic Zone Public Deposited

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  • Tuna fishery is an important activity worldwide. In the eastern Pacific Ocean the effort applied by the Pacific Ocean fleet to catch tuna fish is considerable. The eastern Pacific tuna fleet harvests throughout the oceans and captures an important fraction of this resource. For instance, in 1980 the total catch of the Eastern Pacific fleet was 369,096 short tons while in 1987 the total catch of this fleet was 395,064 short tons (IATTC, 1980; IATTC, 1987). The tuna fishery is an activity that generates high revenues. Consequently, many nations are involved in the harvest of these fish. The participation of several countries makes necessary the implementation of international policies regulating the harvest of the tuna resource. According to Joseph (1979), the international utilization of tuna needs to be regulated in order to avoid the depletion of the resource, as well as to maintain the fishery at sustainable levels and to preserve the tuna industry. Tuna management in the Eastern Tropical Pacific Ocean has had important changes after the implementation of the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) in the United Nations Conference of the Law of the Sea III (UNCLOS III). After some of the coastal countries declared total jurisdiction on all the resources in their 200 mile sea territory, it was necessary to review and implement regulations according to the new conditions. To date Mexico is one of the most important participants in the tuna fishery practiced in the eastern Pacific Ocean. The Mexican government and the Mexican fishing industry have the objectives to satisfy the internal demand, increase the exports and exercise the sovereign rights over fish resources, including highly migratory species, in the Mexican Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) (Panorama Atunero, 1989; Salinas de Gortari, 1989). The Mexican EEZ, about 3 million square kilometers is comprised of four regions which are separated due to the specific ecologic and oceanographic conditions of each area (Figure 1) (SEPESCA, 1988). Among all the fisheries activities in Mexico, tuna fishery is one of the most valuable since the Mexican tuna has an important international market. In addition, the Mexican tuna industry has made an important investment for the capture and processing of tuna; therefore, one of the goals of this industry is to recover its investment. Fisheries around the world are managed by applying several alternatives. The application of some of these management alternatives to the Mexican tuna fishery are presented in this study. These management alternatives have the common objective of obtaining the Maximum Sustainable Yield or the Maximum Economic Yield. Exploitation of the tuna resource represents a management problem and has created international conflicts because for some nations it is a "highly migratory species", and the concept of ownership by any nation may not be recognized . Indeed, the migration patterns of tuna have influenced the management of this resource in the eastern Pacific Ocean (EPO). On the other hand, most of the coastal nations with tunas present in their EEZ (called Resource Adjacent Nations or RANs) state that they have sovereign rights over the resources of their EEZ based on the UNCLOS III (Joseph, 1979). Consequently, international conflicts and disagreements are present while the nations involved in the tuna fishery try to reach an agreement for harvest of this resource. Therefore, it is necessary to formulate appropriate national and international alternatives for the management of the tuna resource. To date, many fishing countries have applied management alternatives to obtain the Maximum Sustainable Yield (MSY) instead of the Maximum Economic Yield (MEY) (Tietenberg, 1988). Economists have proposed that the MEY might be a better objective to manage the fishery resources since it maximizes the rent from the fishery (Townsend and Wilson, 1988).
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