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Through funding the hake fishery will focus on creating robust and responsive stock assessments to ensure their harvest strategy is optimised.

  • Create a robust harvest strategy that is responsive to changes in stock abundance
  • Bespoke harvest control rules that guarantee effective management and increase transparency
  • Clear management strategy for the care of ETP species, habitats and ecosystem
  • Specific and clear management objectives to guide decision making processes
  • A governance system for effective evaluation and enforcement

Start date: May 2024

£50,000 GBP

Transition Assistance Fund


Environmental Defense Fund de México


Gulf of California hake trawl fishery

Progressing towards certification

Located in the Gulf of California between the western Mexican states of Baja California and Sonora, this relatively new fishery harvests Pacific hake (Merlucius productus) using bottom and mid-water trawl nets.

The fishery has rapidly become a vital source of income in the region, and though it uses trawl gear it has an exceptionally clean record in terms of bycatch and ecosystem performance.

To further improve performance levels, the fishery has been awarded its first Transition Assistance Fund (TAF) award through the In-Transition to MSC Program. It aims to achieve certification to the MSC Fisheries Standard by 2026.

If the fishery meets the MSC Standard, it will be the first industrial trawl fishery in the area to be certified as sustainable, and it is hoped this will inspire others to follow suit.

Leading the project is the Environmental Defense Fund de México (EDF), an experienced ocean NGO, which has been involved with the hake fishery since 2012 as their FIP managers. Joining EDF are Pesquera Gilmasa, who supported the fishery in their In-Transition to MSC application and are powerful advocates to local government for improved fisheries management. Finally, local researchers and academics form the Hake Technical Advisory Group to provide the best scientific advice for the project to meet its aims.

What the project will do

The Transition Assistance Fund will help enable the fishery to design and implement a harvest strategy and harvest control rules to ensure operations are responsive to changes in the hake stock’s abundance.

“The TAF grant process has been an experience that unified different stakeholders around a common goal: It will allow us to tackle several issues that we did not have the means to address in a comprehensive way. And it means we are generating new information regarding species abundance, composition and ecological interactions that will be used to inform conservation efforts in the northern Gulf of California”

Senior Director, Resilient Fisheries and Oceans

Environmental Defense Fund de México

The project will help the fishery implement a robust management strategy to further improve its high performance in relation to bycatch, habitats, and the ecosystem. Additionally, the fund will allow the fishery to strengthen its performance evaluation, monitoring and compliance processes.