Barra to Baja Fishermen’s Learning Exchange

What is the Barra to Baja Fishermen’s Learning Exchange and why does it matter?

The Barra to Baja Learning Exchange is a fact finding mission to Baja to meet peers who have saved their local oceans by taking marine protection measures will be like a visit to the future for Barra de Potosí local thought leaders, many of whom have never been more than 50 miles from their home. The opportunity to see Cabo Pulmo, Laguna San Ignacio, La Paz and Punta Abreojos in person and learn their histories in person is the most powerful first step we can take to catalyze real, lasting change in our own region.

Steps and Timeline:

Winter 2018:

We introduced the idea of the learning exchange to the local tourism coop and they were enthusiastic. Upon successful attainment of funding, we began the official process by showing the village documentaries about Baja and discussed the exchange with the village.

Spring 2018:

During a weeklong planning expedition,  a small group of village leaders and WGRP team members will met with peers in each location and observed first-hand their thriving environments and communities. As a group, we documented the journey and conducted interviews to share with the village and extended region upon our return.

Here’s a little video we made and shared with the village in May 2018:

Baja: A Planning Trip / Un Viaje de Aprendizaje from Katherina Audley on Vimeo.

Winter 2019:

The village will select men and women who are respected thought leaders to embark on the mission, along with three team members from the Whales of Guerrero Research Project. We will confirm our secured invitations from host communities in Baja and put an expedition documentation and post-trip information-sharing plan into place. 14 community thought leaders will travel to Baja with the WGRP team for a week-long deep dive with several fishing and ecotourism focused communities that have gotten conservation right.

Spring 2019-Spring 2021:

Upon completion of the expedition, we will facilitate monthly stakeholders’ meetings to initiate local marine protection and conservation measures. We will work directly with participants via monthly and quarterly intensive workshops to refine the vision, plan, objectives and activities. Community leaders from Baja will visit our region to meet with project participants and the local community during this period. Information generated will be distributed to communities, conservation and tourism organizations and government officials by report and in person following each meeting. Our goal will be to have a community-created marine management plan drafted, reviewed by all key opinion leaders and policy makers in place by the end of winter 2021.

Who is going?

14 villagers and 3 WGRP team members. We will bring a combination of committed conservationists and more exploitative fishermen on the trip. A combination of men and women will travel and all participants must be well-respected thought leaders, selected by the community to serve as their delegates. From the Whales of Guerrero team, Katherina Audley and Andrea García Chavez will facilitate and coordinate all expedition logistics and documentation. Local Whales of Guerrero team members, Arturo Mellín and Avimael Cadena will also participate.

What does $38,800 pay for?

• 17 round trip flights – Zihuatanejo – Cabo San Lucas
• 6 round trip flights – La Paz – Zihuatanejo
• 2 week long van rentals, insurance + fuel
• Basic shared accommodation and simple food for 17 people for one week.
• Basic daily living stipend for participants to support their families back home while they travel
• Planning trip
• Room, board and daily honorariums for Baja visitors during their visit to Barra de Potosí
• Park entry fees
• Miscellaneous small equipment purchase and rental (e.g., medical supplies, communications, memory cards, batteries, etc.)
*Some accommodations and food will be donated by families in Barra de Potosí and Baja as in-kind support of the mission.