Fishermen from the town of San Felipe, Mexico are up in arms over calls by environmentalists for a boycott of Mexican shrimp and are urging Mexico’s government to ban gillnet fishing.
ABC News states the fishermen directed their anger at the Sea Shepherd whose infamous former captain, Paul Watson, is best known to ram Japanese whaling ships. In terms of Mexico, the ship’s crew has been removing illegal and abandoned nets that endanger the vaquita, the world’s smallest porpoise.
To express their disgust, San Felipe fishermen burned an empty fishing boat with the name Sea Shepherd painted on its side. They also threatened to kick out the ship themselves if Mexico’s government doesn’t. There has been violence related to the Sea Shepherd in the past, fishermen conducted a protest where vehicles and patrol boats were burned and inspectors were assaulted.
Shrimp fishing is a lucrative business in Mexico and there is a demand for totaba in China which the fishermen seek to fill. However, the nets laid to catch them, unfortunately, affect the vaquita in which even criminal gangs are said to be involved in the totaba fishing trade which is illegal.
I do not condone and do condemn violence against environmentalists, unless violence is conducted on their part is exacted on an innocent party first. The situation in Mexico is complicated not only due to the corruption but the government has limited resources to conserve rare fish, like the vaquita.
Simultaneously, it is also wrong for environmentalists to call for a boycott of shrimp and banning gillnet fishing since the greens are quite financially capable of helping to preserve endangered or rare fish species themselves.
Ultimately, the Sea Shepherd and other environmentalist groups oppose fishing since it is one other means humans use to sustain and even enjoy life. Not only do the activities of green groups affect people’s lives in Mexico they also affect ours here. People, like the Mexican fishermen, are thrown out of work resulting from their efforts and consumers are be left with fewer choices of fish products to consume to boot.