Former TBTI student mapping out interactions between SSF and oil industry in Gulf of Mexico

My name is Eva Coronado and I am a former TBTI PhD student. I finished my PhD in Marine Science at CINVESTAV (Mexico) in 2020, where I conducted a transdisciplinary assessment of small-scale fisheries (SSF) to understand and characterize natural and socio-economic conditions of the fishing sector as a management support tool. As a result of this thesis, two papers were published and two more are being prepared in collaboration with Dr. Silvia Salas (my supervisor) and Dr. Ratana Chuenpagdee, a member of the supervisory committee who also hosted me (and my daughter) for a year in St. John’s. Last December I was awarded the “Alonso Fernández González 2021 prize” for the best dissertation of the CINVESTAV doctoral program, and received an Honorable Mention.

Since fall 2021, I have been working as a post-doctoral fellow at the College of the Southern Border (ECOSUR)  with the transdisciplinary laboratory for sustainability. I am working with Dr. Alejandro Espinoza-Tenorio and his team on the project titled: “The challenging coexistence of coupled socio-ecological systems; fisheries and oil industries in the Campeche Sound” (Pe-Pe’ Pesca y Petroleo). Since 2013, fishing-oil interactions have been given special attention when the Mexican government started to promote a structural reform to the energy sector. This reform opened the door for new actors, who work in the fields of exploitation and exploration in private companies, which then established exclusion zones for fishery activities. At present, SSF and people from coastal communities are facing unprecedented and complex new Blue (in)Justice scenarios, which need to be addressed through the lens of the Sustainable Develop Goals (SDGs). The SDGs are set to challenge current global concerns and to promote economic growth, social development, and environmental protection. My research will contribute to ensuring that SSF are not losing out in the process.

Specifically, the research will take place in the Gulf of Mexico, involving an analysis of SSF and oil industry interactions in marine and coastal areas where management and governance have historically been a serious issue. I am mapping the government sectors linked to the fishing and oil industries, determining what their sustainable development strategies and plans are, and how they are implementing them. The results of this exploration will help us understand the issues and strengths of the government’s sustainable development plans. We expect that the results will identify areas where different sectors, including academia, NGOs, private and public sectors, can contribute and work in collaboration with the government to achieve governance for sustainable fisheries development in the Gulf of Mexico.

I am very glad to be part of a team of people who are working to enhance knowledge about SSF and I hope that my work can contribute to achieving sustainability and better conditions for this important sector and all the people involved in it. Please join me in Merida in October at the 4th World Small-Scale Fisheries Congress, for Latin America and the Caribbean, when I will present the finding of my research and will help Dr. Silvia in welcoming you to Merida.