In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, our partners are thinking ahead and moving in to help fishery communities face the pandemic. Following the call from the United Nations Organization and partner countries, to face the health emergency and focus on the social impact and measures of economic response for a sustainable and inclusive recovery, the Comunidad y Biodiversidad, A. C. (COBI) has started a consultation process with fishermen in eight states of Mexico. To learn about the economic and social impacts of the pandemic, and presented the results on their “Resilience of the fishing communities of Mexico before COVID-19 economic and social impacts” paper.
In this approach, they were able to develop phone interviews to 93 fishermen (34 women and 59 men) of 30 communities from the eight states (Baja California, Baja California Sur, Campeche, Nayarit, Quintana Roo, Sinaloa, Sonora and Yucatan), working in 15 fisheries. Through this they were able to reflect the immediate economic and social impacts caused by COVID-19. Below you will find some results achieved.
Immediate economic impacts:
- Of the interviewees, 89% declared the closure of their markets and the decrease in the price of their products, 10% reported being affected, but continue with the sale of their product and 1% did not respond.
- The impact on the markets was presented mainly in two moments. 30% of the interviewees said it was between December-2019 and January-2020, due to the closure of distribution and trading companies that export products, and 49% of the interviewees said it was on March-2020 due to the closure of the American, European and national market.
- As of March 23, 2020, when the COVID-19 pandemic was recognized as a priority in Mexico, 48% of the fishermen stopped they fishing activities, 41% continued their commercial business, but reducing their catch and 11% continued fishing for self-consumption.
- The decrease in prices, both in domestic markets and in export, was reported by 70% of the interviewees.
Immediate social impacts:
- Of the interviewees, 45% stated they have adapted to the situation and are seeking to diversify the presentation of their products in local markets or are delivering their products.
- Of the interviewees, 45% of the fishermen sated they have not been able to adapt and have stopped sailing their products, for lack of buyers or a place to store it.
- Within the communities, 58% of the interviewees mention that their organizations have helped them, or have helped each other. However, 42% mentioned they have not received any support, and 20% reported having received economic support or food pantry by the federal government.
The coastal communities, due to their isolation show in their responses more social resilience, since they have resources to subsist. However, if there is a case of contagion, the vulnerability of the communities would be much greater due to the lack of infrastructure, local preventive health personnel and supplies, and in some cases, the great distance to the nearest hospitals, COBI states in their report.
COBI will expand their geographic coverage and number of fishermen, so as to make the fishermen needs and proposals visible. By doing this, they will be able to link them with response and recovery mechanisms. They will present another report focused on the state´s role, opportunities and support distribution.
We are glad to witness the work our partners develop in order to support communities through this hard times. With this information, they will be able to help fishing communities and organizations to thrive during the pandemic.
Thank you for your support to the Mesoamerican region, we´ll share results from the next report soon.
The MAR Fund team