LAS VIDAS DE LOS PESCADORES

My time spent in Bahía de Kino, Sonora, México over the past four years has been decorated with old stories about a seemingly endless supply of life and sustenance that once existed in the Gulf of California. The water, I have been told, used to teem with an unimaginable number of large fish and sea turtles that encouraged the growth of the small-scale fisheries in the area. Now, pangas come to shore emptier and fisher’s stories focus more on the troubles that hinder the fisheries from thriving. Nonetheless, the fishing tradition in this region has been maintained through various groups of people for thousands of years and remains a source of pride in Bahia Kino. By photographing and interviewing modern artisanal fishermen, my aim is to document this time and place as well as create an opportunity for fishers to share their accomplishments, struggles, worries, and the joy they experience through their work with the community. Through sharing these words and images, I hope to encourage thought about how the choices we make can affect people and ecosystems in other parts of the world. There are many stories connected with the fishing tradition in Bahia Kino; these are just a few glimpses into Las Vidas de Los Pescadores. I would like this exposition to be a representation of my gratitude to the fishermen for sharing their knowledge and an expression of the stories from the Gulf of California; highlighting the existing issues, and how they may be overcome.

 [ 2013 ] 

“Puede ser contaminación y menos especies. Año con año ha ido bajando la producción. Año con año más poco. [Necesitamos] hacer estudios sobre esa mortalidad que hay de peces de los barcos y limitar las lanchas que haiga menos embarcaciones. Que haiga un estudio a fondo más que nada para poder controlar las especies. Que estudien al fondo todas las especies y que pongan unas vedas. Ahorita hay muy pocas vedas no se respetan las vedas.”

 

“There is pollution and less diversity. Year by year there is less productivity. Year after year there is less. We need to do fish mortality studies associated with the trawlers and limit the number of boats. We need to study all the species, have more control, and create closures. Currently there are very few closures and they aren’t respected.”

 

-- Eduardo Becerra, Gillnet Fisherman

“He aprendido que hay que respetar [el mar] un poquito para que nos vaya mejor. Que también saber cuidar uno mismo. No pues yo sé trabajar en el campo se todo pero en mar es donde mas hallado.”

 

“I have learned that you have to take care of the sea a little bit so we can all do better. As well as take care of yourself. I know how to do a lot of things, but the ocean is where I like to be.”

 

-- Chicote, Gillnet Fisherman

“Nosotros mismos son la principal amenazas. Porque queremos dinero. Siempre hay un comprador de producto que sea vedado o chica. Y si hay un comprador tú vas y lo pescas. Una de las soluciones es empezar conmigo mismo. Si yo no lo hago estoy evitando esa amenaza que se estinga o que no haiga producto.”

 

 

“We are the greatest threat to ourselves, because we want money. There is always a buyer for everything, even if it’s illegal. If there is a buyer, you will fish. One solution is to begin with myself. If I don’t take part in this there will be less of a threat.”

 

-- Cosme Becerra

“[Necesitamos] aprender más y conservar más. Conservar y cuidar porque esta yendo todo por abajo muy poco ahora y antes era más. Se va acabar nadie va a querer pescar porque como esta llendo ahorita nadie quiere estar aqui. Ya no esta como antes.”

 

“We need to learn more, conserve more, and be careful because everything has slowed down much more than it was before. The future of fishing here is that it’s going to end. In time, nobody will want to fish because it won’t be worth it. It is not like it was before”

 

--  Anonymous Shark Fisherman

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Exhibition at Restaurant Maribel in Bahia Kino, Sonora. This included an interactive portion where all were invited to answer questions about their relationship with the Gulf of California, their personal concerns about the state of the oceans, and what they think needs to be done in terms of conservation. Images of event by Julianna Starr.

 

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Exhibition at the Natural History Institute in Prescott, Arizona