How the San Felipe fishermen rationalize poaching

Translated by Fulano from an article in JornadaBC

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San Felipe, December 6, 2017 – The “big shots” in the illegal trafficking of totoaba are the Chinese, not the fishermen who just have enough to eat, said the president of the San Felipe Federation of Coastal Cooperatives, Sunshine Rodríguez Peña.

In what was his first interview with the news media after his incarceration last Sunday, December 3, the fishermen’s leader said there is an agreement that 100 boats from San Felipe can go out fishing for shrimp with the new capture method and there will be another 200 pangas from the Gulf of Santa Clara, Sonora.

Although it was announced today, December 6, it was not possible to go to sea due to the strong winds and rough seas, which prevented shrimping. But when the weather permits they will sail and try out the new nets agreed to with the National Fish Institute, said Sunshine.

The federation president said the people of San Felipe are desperate due to the lack of jobs, and they no longer want to receive the government compensation paid to them, as they can earn more from the sea than from the federal subsidies.

He complained that federal authorities have still not decided on the fishing gear to capture fin fish, and it is not certain that the new fishing nets for shrimp will work.

Sunshine said he is going to file a legal suit against those who ordered and orchestrated his arrest last Saturday, November 25, as a squad of 20 armed men humiliated him and intimidated his wife and two minor children.

He suggested that the Federal Attorney General acted only on its feelings that some person was fishing for totoaba, but did not carry out a professional investigation to find those responsible.

He said the Special Prosecutor showed him a lost with more than 100 people who supposedly are traffickers of totoaba bladders.

However, Sunshine responded that the fishermen are not criminals, and those who should be arrested are the “big shots” who are the Chinese who buy the bladders and make hundreds of thousands of dollars in profits.

He said that he will have meetings with the people that either by name or nickname were on that list that the prosecutor showed him.

“They are going to fuck me over and this town because they are going to bring order and apply the law, these are the words they said to me,” said Sunshine who is the president of the Federation of Coastal Cooperatices, a group from which he had resigned, but decided to tear up his resignation and continue in charge.

“Look, I had told them repeatedly, I told them ‘Señores go after the big shots, or are they paying you off? Or why have you not arrested even one Chinaman? Why are you only trying to get the fishermen? Why don’t you do your job and investigate and arrest those who take (buy and ship to Asia)? Those are the ones making hundreds of thousands of dollars, here in San Felipe we don’t make what they make over there,” said Sunshine.

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