Alto Golfo: The Cucapá and fisheries

Tania Escobar Series, Sites, Voces del Mar

An indigenous group of ancestral female fishers struggle to balance their single livelihood: the gulf curvina fishery.

With a culture historically linked to fishing, Cucapá are an indigenous people scattered in small communities in the border area of the Upper Gulf, in the states of Sonora and Baja California.

In 1993, the creation of the Upper Gulf of California and Colorado River Delta Biosphere Reserve set forth severe restrictions for fishing activities, without dialogue or prior consultation with local communities.

Without opposing the objectives of the reserve, but in an attempt to preserve the customs and traditions of their people, the Cucapá women have been leading the fight for the recognition of their ancestral rights. Currently, researchers have begun to monitor the status of the fisheries in the area. The appropriation of scientific knowledge by the communities has not only resulted in better efforts to manage their fishing activities, but also has become a legal instrument for their struggle.