On Monday, October 21st, 2019, Emilie Lindkvist, Blanca González, and Kara Pellowe were invited by the SRC leadership to present our work on small-scale fisheries in Baja California Sur, Mexico to Martha Delgado Peralta, Vice Minister for Multilateral Affairs and Human Rights from Mexico City, Mexico. Also in attendance at the presentation were Francisco del Río, Ambassador at the Embassy of Mexico in Sweden, and Mariana Ramírez González, Third Secretary of Cultural, Cooperation and Press Affairs at the Embassy of Mexico in Sweden, as well as Line Gordon, Director of the SRC, and Henrik Österblom, Deputy Science Director of the SRC (Figure 1).
The presentation was an opportunity to distill our findings of the various research pieces conducted about small-scale fisheries in Baja California Sur, which resulted from the U.S. National Science Foundation-funded MAREA project in collaboration with the MuSES project in SESLINK. We took this opportunity to connect this work to the United Nations´ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which are of particular interest to Martha Delgado, and others in her office. Martha Delgado is also the former Minister of the Environment for Mexico City, and has worked at the intersection of the environment and sustainable development for almost 20 years.
Our presentation was entitled, “Adaptation in a changing world: Small-scale fisheries in Baja California Sur”. Together, we introduced the interdisciplinary and international scope of the research we conduct, and highlighted the importance of small-scale fisheries in the context of the global seafood trade, as well as the economies of Mexico and the Mexican state of Baja California Sur. We showed our work in the context of the social-ecological systems (SES) framework, and described how we use it to study and understand human-biosphere interactions within and across scales. We explained that we study small-scale fisheries as SESs in the context of a variable environment, and we presented three main findings from our work in Baja California Sur:
- First, diversification is key for adaptation to change. Actors diversify in a number of ways, including fishing multiple species, moving across distant locations throughout the year, and maintaining alternate sources of income. These types of diversification help fishers to adapt to environmental and market variability.
- Second, we exemplified through different cases how the ability to diversify is influenced by formal fisheries policies.
- Third, we find that informal forms of organization (e.g. trade networks, fishing cooperatives) and local norms matter for how people interact with the biosphere and adapt to change.
We ended the presentation by linking our work to the SDGs (Figure 4). The insights gained from our work on small-scale fisheries in Baja California Sur are relevant to the design of policies that support human and environmental well-being, and we hope that our work will contribute to policies that alleviate poverty, ensure individual wellbeing and livelihoods, enable sustainable food production, and protect ecological health. It was a very exciting opportunity, and it is yet to be seen what this meeting could lead to!