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The voice of Holbox´s fishers

By Nadia Rubio, 9th February 2023

In the past weeks, we presented our documentary Holbox: Sharks and the People of the Sea on Holbox Island. The stars of this short documentary are the fishers. Their narratives immerse the public in the historical shark fisheries that existed on Holbox Island several decades ago. Fishers discussed their past fishing practices and focused on diverse species of sharks that existed in the coastal area, including tigers, bulls, lemons, and bonnet heads, among others. Fishers also expose how things have changed around the island, which evolved from a tiny fishing town that was much in isolation and turned into a hot spot for global tourism interest in sun and sand activities but also in swimming with the whale sharks.

Photo © Nadia Rubio | Mar Sustenable

In this story, fishers also consider their awareness of the consequences of overfishing and recapitulate on the need to change fishing behaviours and consider other income sources besides fishing, given the growing scarcity of big fish on landings.

Our presentation of the documentary to the Holbox community was a very emotional moment. All the fishers that participated were at the event. These events matter since Holbox´s population continues to grow, many foreigners are coming, and local traditions are being lost.

We could also show the documentary to the new generations by being invited to present the video at Holbox high school, where the grandsons of the fishers go to school.

Photo © Nadia Rubio | Mar Sustenable

It was very interesting to see how our work connected the hearts of different generations who have much love for their island.

Holbox: Sharks and the People of the Sea is a product of our years of research studying coastal exploitation on Holbox Island since 2015. This documentary was possible thanks to our SOSF grant, which allowed the project to continue for the past three years. The documentary will be public in the coming months.

Photo © Nadia Rubio | Mar Sustenable

We want to give a huge shout to the people from Holbox that helped make this event a success. Professor Franklin Campos Ancona and Director Gladys Hernández from Escuela Secundaria Técnica #9 de Isla Holbox; Yara Ancona, Director of Casa de la Cultura de Isla Holbox; Vicente Cáceres, a former fisher of Holbox and now environmental activist, Área de Protección de Flora y Fauna Yum Balam

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