Case Studies in Fisheries Conservation and Management: Applied Critical Thinking and Problem Solving
Case 27: Managing a Small-Scale Trophy Largemouth Bass Fishery for Tourism Development
You have been asked to advise a local landowner/developer in western Mexico regarding his wishes to develop a trophy largemouth bass fishery in a small private lake. He plans to build a small hotel on the lake that will cater to high-income tourists who are interested in catching the largest bass of their life. Can this lake support a sufficient number of trophy bass to satisfy his high-end clients? Can the bass fishery create sufficient alternative employment to support the commercial fishers who own half of the lake, and who currently gillnet tilapia from the lake as a supplemental income source? Can the bass fishery be developed and the tilapia fishery be improved at the same time? What course(s) of action would you recommend?
“Would you like to see what I am going to turn into the most beautiful bass lake in Mexico?” asked Carlos Rodriguez. Carlos is definitely the entrepreneurial type. He retired early, but is always hatching plans for new business enterprises. After creating an exclusive private beachside housing development north of Puerto Vallarta, he and his brother recently became partners with a small group of commercial fishers who own a unique spring-fed impoundment in the rugged central Pacific coastal mountain region. “I want to create a fishery that will attract bass anglers from all over Mexico and the United States,” Carlos said. “They will come here to catch the biggest bass of their lives, and if they don’t catch a bass of at least 4 kilos (10 pounds), then they don’t pay. I want you to tell me how to create this bass fishery, and I am willing to pay you well to do it.” Intrigued, you agree to accompany Carlos to see the lake the following day.