Comunidad y Biodiversidad A.C. (COBI) was established as a nonprofit organization in 1999 to address natural resources management issues and coastal marine conservation in the Midriff Islands region of the Gulf of California. Today, it works throughout Mexico to conserve marine and coastal biodiversity using participatory approaches. It focuses on community-led conservation of sustainable small-scale fisheries, marine protected areas, and economic incentives for conservation.
For the past 10 years, COBI has been working with fishing communities in northwestern Mexico to obtain secure tenure to fishing rights and to establish protected areas within fishing territories. In 2010, COBI began working with the Mexican Congress to build support for a system of territorial user rights in fisheries (TURs) that are defined on an ecosystem basis rather than on the preservation of a single species.
This two-year grant from the Tinker Foundation will enable COBI to provide technical training in ecosystem-based fisheries management to four more cooperatives who want to set aside 10 percent of their fishing grounds as fully protected marine reserves and have requested assistance from COBI. Additionally, the organization will work to reinforce recent congressional action in the lower house to strengthen the territorial user rights system in Mexico, using data on fish stock improvements from these sites to inform development of national level policies for strengthened TURs.