For 23 years the civil association Comunidad y Biodiversidad (COBI) has been working to achieve sustainable fishing, starting with regions in the Gulf of California and expanding to almost the entire Mexican coast, said the president of the organization, María José Espinosa, who traveled to Mérida to offer a workshop and present a series of books, including “Rebels of the Sea”.

What is COBI?

We are a low profile organization because we like fishing organizations to be up front, that is to say, if we participate in an event, it will not be strange for the producers to present their issues and then mention that they collaborate with COBI.

How did it begin?

It was born in 1999 from the inspiration of a group of young people with admiration for marine life and concern for the levels of poverty in developing countries. They identified the need to promote marine conservation and sustainable management of fishery resources, always considering that it is necessary to work hand in hand with those who live in the coastal communities of Mexico.

Where did it come from?

We started working in Kino Bay in Sonora and from that region it has gradually migrated to other places, beginning with the large islands of the Gulf of California, then to the North Pacific, the Caribbean and now the Gulf of Mexico, so we are basically covering the entire coastline of the republic, through 34 communities throughout the country.

What is your business?

Currently, with a strong participatory strategy, we encourage current and future generations of fishermen and fisherwomen to use and share their knowledge to co-design and implement solutions that achieve resilient communities and healthy oceans.

Who are the members?

COBI has 36 staff members working in four offices located in Guaymas, Sonora, one in La Paz, Baja California, one in Cancun, Quintana Roo and one here in Merida (Yucatan).

How do you carry out your projects?

When we started working in favor of marine preservation and with fishing communities 23 years ago we had limited resources from only two sources, but as we have been working we now receive donations from any organization or individual.

Any issues you can comment on?

We work with projects that seek to reverse fishing exploitation with some species that are commercialized in the country, with the objective of guaranteeing the sustainability of this activity and also with human rights issues, since you cannot have sustainable fishing at the expense of people’s human rights.

Why are you coming to Merida?

We are offering a workshop in the city where we will also present three books, among them “Rebels of the Sea”, which seeks to recognize the work of women and men who have shown that together we can move forward with absolute haste and total respect for human rights, for the conservation and sustainable development of fisheries and oceans.

TYT Newsroom

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