Citizen Observers &
La Paz Waterkeepers
ROC (Network of Citizen Observers) is dedicated to the surveillance and protection of the natural areas of Balandra, Espíritu Santo and Bahía de La Paz. They are citizen observers who seek to prevent illegal activities through awareness and citizen participation. Their work is based on a collaboration with the users of the Bay of La Paz and with the authorities.
For the last 25 years, pistoleros and encerradores have stripped the reefs of most fish around Espiritu Santo and in the Bay of La Paz. Pistoleros dive with compressed air and harpoon fish while they sleep at night. Encerradores use compressed air and drive fish into nets located on reefs during the day. Mexican law prohibits using any form of compressed air to extract fish from the ocean.
This destruction stopped temporarily in 2009-2010 as a result of ROC, the first citizen-driven vigilance in the Bay of La Paz. In its first year of operation, ROC stopped the killing of over 500 tons of reef fish in the Bay of La Paz and the number of illegal boats was reduced from 29 to just 4.
None of the fisheries recovery success would have happened without the support of the CONAPESCA inspectors who have worked diligently with citizen driven ROC vigilance team to stop illegal fishing in the Bay of La Paz and at Archipelago Espiritu Santo. Their joint operations are now being recognized and supported by the community.
ROC has also been licensed as the La Paz Waterkeeper by the Waterkeeper Alliance which is made up of several organizations whose aim is to protect bodies of water for the health and well-being of their users and citizens.
You can donate to this worthy group at their website ROC LA PAZ.