I have come to the point where it is virtually impossible to keep up with the level of drug violence in Sonora in general and San Carlos in particular. The number of bodies in San Carlos continue to pile up. I rationalize this by thinking that these types of murders, which are really public executions, happen all the time in big cities. Or course the reality is San Carlos is not a big city. It is a small tourist community that is nestled on the shores of the Sea of Cortes.
There is sad analogy that can be drawn between the drug executions that go on in the San Carlos, Guaymas and Empalme area each month and what I know is happening out on the water in the Sea of Cortes. The Sea of Cortes is being systematically executed. Not unlike the latest drug dealer in San Carlos who fell out of favor with his master. A little bit each day the Sea of Cortes suffers an execution not unlike that of Oscar Iván Cinta Barrón, who was murdered just two blocks from my house on May 27th at around 4:30 in the afternoon as a setting sun illuminated the beautiful volcanic cliffs of el Cerro Creston. It has been reported that Senor Barrón was the son of a recently disappeared ex federal judicial cop named Manuel Cinta Solis. In a country famous for police being in on the take it is not much of a stretch of the imagination to believe this is just another case of corrupt cops and their families paying the price for dealing with narcos.
The Sea of Cortes is being systematically executed. Not unlike the latest drug dealer in San Carlos who fell out of favor with his master.
The assassinations that take place on the water are of course more subtle than what we see on the street. As that beautiful sun was setting on the 27th of May at around 4:30 in the afternoon, at the very moment that 5 bullets from an AK-47 were pumped into Oscar Iván Cinta Barrón, there would have been many people at the popular seafood restaurant Charly’s Rock located on the tiny malecon of San Carlos. Any tourist who might have been sipping a margarita at this moment would have had the chance, with their untrained eyes, to witness the assassination of the Sea of Cortes.
Those tourists sitting at Charly’s Rock, as they threw totopos to the sea gulls, might see in the distance a panga racing towards Bacochibampo bay over in Mira Mar. They might of thought to themselves what a beautiful sight. On the horizon they might have seen the silhouettes of several
commercial sardine boats majestically moving north towards El Choyudo or Isla Tiburon and the midriff islands not far from Bahia Kino. What they were really witnessing were the killers of the Sea of Cortes. The commercial sardine fleet of Guaymas is famous for killing other species besides sardines. Just check out the link below from a story we did a few years ago on the sardine boats. It was pretty much the small open hulled panga that almost single-handedly decimated sharks and dorado populations in the Sea of Cortes.
The lack of regulating commercial fishing has killed the Sea of Cortes. It is plain and simple, it is not in fact rocket science.
What I can guarantee is that, while Oscar Iván Cinta Barrón was being executed in his Honda Civic, those tourists at Charly’s Rock did not see any government officials from the department of fisheries executing any patrols on the water. There is really not much difference between what has been recently happening on the land in Mexico as far as drug cartel violence goes and what has been happening on the water in the Sea of Cortes for the last 50 years. When it comes to drug cartel violence there is virtually no law. Drug dealers have been killing other drug dealers with virtual impunity now for almost a decade in Mexico. On the Sea of Cortes that same thing has been happening. The only real difference is that the Government and its agency in charge of fishing CONAPESCA has taken over the role of drug cartel and allowed the commercial fisherman to be their assassins. We the people are the accomplices and the drugs we consume are the sea food.
The sardines, the dorado, the shrimp and totoaba. The cochi and crustaceans, pargo and cabrilla, the callo de hacha hasta las chocolatas. I have not once in 25 years actually seen a CONAPESCA Inspector actually inspect something. I don’t know where they are but they sure as hell are not on the water or in the sea food markets.
We the people are the accomplices
Those of us who continue to this day to consume all of that not sustainable, illegally not to mention immorally caught fish are their accomplices. Yes we the consumers, wittingly or not, have become accomplices with whom I refer to as, the fish mafias of Mexico, as well as the corrupt officials from CONAPESCA.
In the coming months our new non profit WorldsAquarium.Org will be working on an initiative here in San Carlos that we hope will spread to other tourist towns through out the Sea of Cortes. The initiative is going to at least start with taking all sport fishing species off the menu. San Carlos TV and WorldsAquarium will soon be promoting what we call Article 68 friendly restaurants in San Carlos who have agreed to take species such as Marlin, Sail Fish and yes Dorado off of their menus for ever.
This is not going to be easy, it never is when it comes to commerce and money. But we already have a commitment from a restaurant in San Carlos. It is none other than Charly’s Rock. Lets hope we can convince other sea food consumers in San Carlos that it makes good enviornmental sense to patronize the restaurants that no longer carry sport fishing species on the menu.