Diagnostic of the Self-Governance Performance of Fishing Organizations in Mexico


We know very little about why fishers organize, how their organizations operate and how they perform in terms of sustainability, economic efficiency, social accountability, and justice, among others. Information answering these questions is useful to empower fisher organizations themselves and to better design future interventions for their improvement. Towards these aims, the National Diagnostic of Fishing Organizations (DNOP for its acronym in Spanish) was created and embodies a groundbreaking collaboration among the fishing sector, academia, and civil society on a national scale.

Research Questions:

  • How and why do fishers organize?
  • What are the determinants of institutional measures of success (such as high operational efficiency, equity, accountability, adaptive capacity, and organizational values, etc.) as well as fishing measures of performance (CPUE, value, etc.)?
  • How do these elements interact to affect the functionality of an organization on land and on the water?

Goals and Deliverables:

In its first phase, DNOP consisted of a needs assessment through a performance evaluation of fishing organizations (confederations, federations, and cooperatives). In only two years this collaboration resulted in concrete changes to the rules of operation of the Mexican fisheries agency (CONAPESCA).

The final product of the next phase will offer regionalized priorities for action in the context of a national program of strengthening of fishing organizations that can be incorporated by the incoming new federal administration's national development plan. In parallel, we have started scaling-down our data gathering instrument for appropriate implementation in other geographies through ongoing collaborations with FAO, WorldFish, and Oak in the context of the global mapping and needs assessment of fishing organizations.


We conducted our needs assessment through consultation with fishers and community leaders, and the gray and peer-reviewed literature. The data gathering strategy across the country was designed in close consultation and coordination with the fishing sector as to piggyback on their convening power.


DNOP brings together the fishing sector (i.e. the Mexican Confederation of Fishing Cooperatives CONMECOOP, representing more than 11,000 fishers), two Mexican civil society organizations: Comunidad y Biodiversidad (CoBi) and the Sociedad de Historia Natural Niparajá, and Duke University.



View and download the full report here. 


Phase I of the project resulted in reports of the results presented to CONMECOOP and CONAPESCA. The second phase (2018-2020) will transform the needs assessment into a basic work-plan for a national program for the strengthening of fishing organizations approved and supported by CONAPESCA.