Grouper Supply in the Yucatan

February 15, 2015

Dear Friends of Beacon Fisheries,

You are receiving this email because we appreciate and covet your long-term commitment to Beacon Fisheries and our Mexican grouper projects in the Yucatan!  We are grateful for your support, and in spite of a few challenges we finished strong in 2014, and look forward to putting our best foot forward in 2015!

The most significant challenge of 2014 was the terrible landings, and overall lack of raw material in the grouper department.  Production levels in the Yucatan were actually at their lowest recorded level EVER at only 11 million pounds.  2013 was also a record low year, but nearly 16 million pounds were captured.  We are proud to report once again that Beacon was the largest importer of Mexican grouper by a long shot.  This would not be possible without faithful customers, and without 4 key partnerships in the region that now for nearly 20 years have continued to exhibit that honesty, trust, and consistency are the right foundation to build long-term business.

Recently there has been significant chatter announcing that a 2 month grouper closure for the region was inevitable this year, and the dates most widely published were Feb 1 – Mar 31.  During the beginning of December we also were convinced of the likelihood of this occurrence.  However at this point we would like to reassure you that barring an unprecedented political event (it’s an election year in Mexico, so this is highly unlikely) the closure will remain as in recent years from Feb 15 – Mar 15.

All of these rumors and all of the discussion in the Yucatan has been very healthy as fleet owners, processors, scientists, and politicians have all had to come together and face some of the long-term concerns of grouper sustainability.  At the end Beacon is dedicated to the health of this fishery, and in support of a long list of sustainability measures that include the following:  some year-round protected (closed) areas, a 2-month closure, a higher size limit to protect juveniles, more enforcement of size limits, and more effective accountability measures to ensure both fishermen and processors are heavily punished for violations and incentivized to protect the future of our industry!  We believe it will take these drastic steps to ensure the long-term viability of the fishery.  However, thus far the authorities in the region have largely focused upon the 2-month closure and have not proven effective in including the other important measures in the process.

At the end of the day we want to thank you for your support of Beacon.  We promise you that when you source your grouper from Beacon you are not only buying a box of grouper, but also are aiding us to continue our quest of promoting a healthy fishery in that area.  Please know that we have never been happy to just discover what is going on, but remain dedicated to action and careful promotion of well-planned and well-executed sustainability measures.  This is not always pleasant, or profitable (in the short term at least), and certainly dealing with Mexican politics is not easy, but we are doing it and will continue!

In conclusion in spite of the 1 month closure this year (not 2), we are optimistic that finally enough awareness and dialogue has been brought to light so that not only a 2-month closure, but also several other key sustainability measures will finally become reality during 2015 and 2016.  Remember that the effective range for this year’s 1-month closure will basically run from about Feb 20 – Mar 25, and once fishing operations resume prices could easily remain very high until mid-April if not later.  Also please do not forget that Beacon’s supply of domestic red grouper, as well as the Pacific grouper species continues to increase, and it would be our pleasure to offer you these products during the Mexican moratorium.  Please keep in touch with your Beacon account rep for the latest news on supply and pricing, and if you would care for any more details regarding the overall conservation efforts please do not hesitate to reach out to me or my dad.

Jonathan Eddy