Sustainable lobster fishing
The Chakay lobster is caught in the waters of the Sian Ka’an and Banco Chinchorro Biosphere Reserves, in Quintana Roo. The collective brand Chakay belongs to six fishing cooperatives that catch Caribbean spiny lobsters, skin-diving and using a lasso so as to not hurt them. This allows them to select those of the minimum allowable size (at least 13 cm tail), and release egg-bearing females to keep the population balanced. Chakay is one of the world’s first sustainable lobster fisheries, and is certified by the Marine Stewardship Council. The Chakay lobster is part of the Slow Food/Slow Fish Mexico movement.
Several years of collaboration between various social agents have made Chakay the first collective brand of a marine biological resource (the Caribbean spiny lobster), which has an identifiable geographical origin and is sustainable. A model is being created for the collective exploitation of a marine product to ensure that lobsters are caught in keeping with established guidelines so that they meet quality standards and comply with marketing laws. It will serve as the basis for the ongoing evaluation of this fishery’s sustainable management.
In 1996, a five-year plan was drawn up for Chakay to become an export company, have a warehouse and vehicles and pay off producers’ debts in banks so that they would be eligible for loans. All this was achieved.