“With this you cannot support a family,” adds his wife.
Overfishing is the main cause of the fall of the biajaiba in the Gulf of Batabanó and the near disappearance of the Creole cherna in the entire area of its habitat, among other losses.
In 1990 the decline became very evident, which is also affected by pollution, the increase in sea temperature and its greater salinity, since the dammed Cuban rivers discharge less fresh water towards the coasts.
The sizes of the fish are smaller and meat less coveted by the population predominate, according to research by the oceanologist Rodolfo Claro. That is why the 41-year-old Gorrín and other fishermen “seriously” think about going to rivers, lagoons and dams or migrating to other forms of subsistence. Some feel old enough to leave the trade that their ancestors left them. For example, Roberto Díaz, 53, who goes out with Gorrín in a small motor boat to fish “a la pita” (with nylon cord) and rustic trammel lines about 40 miles off the coast of Cajío.
“I am still here although every day it is more difficult to obtain good profits. There are also many regulations. Fishing for various species and the use of some gear and catching methods are prohibited,” says Díaz.
15 years ago, these men, from a fishing cooperative, went out on rafts and filled the fridge every day with abundant biajaibas, snappers, chernas and cuberas, among other fish. But Cuba overfished between the 1960s and 1980s. In 1985 alone, 78,000 tons of fish were caught on the underwater platform. Since then, and with the economic crisis that began in the 1990s, the fishing sector was reduced and bans were established for areas and species.
In 2012, the entire supply of fish, including aquaculture, was 48,498 tonnes. Only 1,694 tons were obtained from biajaiba, and from cherna, there were only 26. In 2007 chinchorros, a trawling art with very fine mesh nets that predated the marine habitat, were prohibited.
“The trawlers and the use of dams (system of networks in the water) put an end to the biajaiba”, says Díaz.
As there are almost no jobs in fishing, informal activity appears, which also predates: subsistence, furtive or legalized as recreational.
Mounted on a tractor camera like a raft, an electrician from the municipality of Quivicán, near Cajío, goes fishing on weekends to improve what his family eats.