Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Mexican fisherwomen organise against climate change

Emilio Godoy in IPS: Every night, Adlemi Marrufo goes out to catch bait crabs used to fish for octopus in this small seaside town and others along Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula, as part of a women's cooperative that is working to adapt to and fight climate change. The longnose spider crab (Libinia dubia), known locally as the "maxquil" crab, is fished from August to December in San Felipe, where Marrufo, who everyone calls "Doña More", has been mayor since 2010.

"We haven't received support, and I think it would be difficult to get any. Even in our community, we have problems with the men, who wonder how we can do their work," Marrufo tells IPS as she gets her fishing gear ready on her boat, "Rebeca". In 1999, she was one of the founders of the Mujeres Trabajadoras del Mar cooperative, currently made up of 13 fisherwomen. The women's cooperative emerged as a collective effort to adapt to climate change, the effects of which are increasingly being felt on the coast of the Gulf of Mexico, which bathes the shores of this fishing village at the top of the Yucatan Peninsula in southeast Mexico.

San Felipe, which has a population of 1,850, is one of the 25 coastal towns in Mexico most exposed to the effects of global warming, in the form of stronger hurricanes, heavier and more frequent flooding and increasing changes in the availability of seafood species, which has caused problems for fishing, the town's main economic activity.

...The women in the cooperative, who were trained in "mangrove ecology" a year after the hurricane, have played a key role in restoring the mangroves, which are vital to keeping water temperatures from climbing too high in the lagoon, an important breeding ground for species ranging from lobsters to the longnose spider crab....

A burst of colour lights the shallow waters of the Gulf of Mexico off the Yucatan Peninsula. The swirls of tan, green, blue, and white are most likely sediment in the water. From NASA

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