SUSTAINABLE USE AND RESEARCH OF THE MAR DE CORTEZ (SURMAR)
APROVECHAMIENTO SUSTENTABLE E INVESTIGACIÓN DEL CENTRO DEL MAR DE CORTÉS (ASIMAR)
The Western Flyer Foundation is eager to establish partnerships with other organizations engaged in research, education, outreach, or conservation efforts that are consistent with its mission. These collaborations are valuable in their own right, but they will also guide our efforts in developing future programs in all of these areas.
During the past year we have worked with two programs that Board Member William Gilly started several years ago. Squids4Kids is a program at Hopkins Marine Station that uses Humboldt squid as a platform for educational outreach that focuses on the importance of food webs and oceanographic processes that link top predators to plankton. The program ships specimens of Humboldt squid to schools all over the country and participates in public science events, including Bay Area Science Festival at AT&T Park in San Francisco, Whale Fest in Monterey, and the National Science and Engineering Festival in Washington, DC.
We have also been working with the SURMAR program (Sustainable Utilization and Research of the Mar de Cortés) to develop a low-cost method of monitoring temperature at a series of depths that can be deployed by squid fishermen in the area of Santa Rosalia, Baja California Sur, Mexico, the main squid fishing port in the Sea of Cortez. These fishermen will also catch squid to assess their size and age at maturity, features that are highly correlated with oceanic conditions around the time of the squid’s birth. Basically, if squid are born during summertime conditions in which water is too warm at depths of 50-100 m, they are very likely to mature at small size 6 months later. If summertime conditions are cool, the squid will grow for 1 year or more and get much larger. Because small squid are not readily accessible to the commercial fishermen using established jigging techniques, landings (and incomes) plummet when there are no large squid. By monitoring oceanic and squid conditions it might be possible to predict squid size, and therefore landings, up to 1 year in advance. This would facilitate planning by squid fishermen and processors.
SURMAR is also developing a marine laboratory facility in Santa Rosalia, the Gulf of California International Research Center (GCIRC) that will facilitate international collaborations. We hope that the GCIRC can serve as a host institution when the Western Flyer returns to the Sea of Cortez, and we are now working with Gilly and Samantha Wishnak to sponsor OpenROV workshops at a local technical college.
The SURMAR/ASIMAR program, founded by Dr. William Gilly and Dr. Unai Marcaida, is a fiscal sponsorship project of The Ocean Foundation, Washington, DC. It is a collaboration with the Instituto Tecnologico Superior de Mulegé (ITESME) in Santa Rosalia, Baja California Sur, Mexico, and the Gulf of California International Research Center (GCIRC) is being developed on the ITESME campus. This facility is currently under construction and will be made available to visiting international researchers for projects that are consistent with SURMAR’s mission and goals.
MISSION: Promote sustainability and conservation of natural resources in the Gulf of California, and deepen our understanding of natural processes vital to the health of its diverse ecosystems.
WESTERN FLYER FOUNDATION . 2726 Walnut Ave., Signal Hill, CA 90755. Tel: 949-903-6873 Info@WesternFlyer.org