As can be seen in Diversification, 64.5% of community members in Tasajera rely on fishing as their primary source of income. Volatile prices of inputs such as gasoline as well as varying market prices of fish certainly affect the industry on the island, but historically the most important variable in Tasajera’s fishing industry has been fish catch.
In Tasajera, the fish catch has dropped drastically over the past 10 years. Although there has been little research done on the causes of this decline, locals consider increased competition for marine fisheries and climate related events as the major causes. In the late 90s and early 2000s, trawling by major fishing corporations was introduced to the region. This style of fishing involves dragging massive nets along the ocean floor, heavily damaging the ecosystem and disturbing its habitants.
Acquiring data which fulfilled Mareas de Tasajera’s Indicator Selection Criteria proved to be a challenge, and any data regarding long-term historical fish catch was not deemed credible enough for inclusion in the system. We were however able to collect data from a local fishing cooperative that has recently begun tracking impressively comprehensive data regarding their boats on a tide-by-tide basis. This is a great example of what Mareas de Tasajera aims to promote: increased appreciation for the value of information capital in the community, the integration of information-tracking techniques into community infrastructure and acting towards sustainable community development.
The data received from the cooperative provides a descriptive perspective on how the fishing industry works in Tasajera. Fishermen are provided with boats and gasoline by the cooperative. After returning to shore, the cooperative buys the fish at a prearranged price from the fishermen, who keep the profits. The cooperative then sells the fish to corporations at a higher price, using the markup to cover input costs and generate profit.