Management Plan for the Guadalquivir Fish Reserve

The Guadalquivir Fish Reserve is of utmost importance for generating commercial species in the Gulf of Cádiz. Artisan fishers, together with the administration, scientists and NGOs are working in a participatory process to create a management plan in the fish reserve that ensures the sustainability of the fishing resources and the health of the ecosystem.

Golfe of Cádiz, Andalucía.



At the Guadalquivir Fish Reserve in the Gulf of Cádiz –and within the National Park of Doñana- there are multispecies fisheries with the artisan boats of the fishers’ associations of Chipiona (40), Sanlúcar (12) and Rota. The fleet uses trammel nets and various types of net techniques, both inside and outside of the reserve and, in some cases, longlines are used outside of the reserve. The harvest of species depends on the season, the availability and abundance; the most relevant species harvested based on the unshipped volumes are sea bass, wedge sole and prawns. Most boats conduct their fishing activities within the boundaries of the Fish Reserve.




The Guadalquivir estuary, where this fish reserve is located, is a biological engine for life in the Gulf of Cádiz, with high diversity and abundance of species, in spite of the environmental problems it faces.  It is a vital site in the food chain network and a key area for reproduction and young fish for species of commercial importance, located in the heart of the Doñana National Park.  The reserve in turn supports major fishing activities for a large number of commercial fishing species. Currently, efforts are being done towards a greater involvement of the fishing communities in the management of the Fish Reserve in order to prepare a Sustainable Management Plan for the fishing resources.  A regular fishing sub-group has been created in the fish reserve for this purpose.



Since 2014, the Association for the Development of Coastal Communities (Sociedad para el Desarrollo de las Comunidades Costeras or SOLDECOCOS), together with anthropology and sociology researchers of the University of Seville (USE) and WWF, have set up a process for dialogue and gathering of information on the fisheries and the relationship among the various stakeholders related to fishing.  During the preceding phase, there were interviews and questionnaires, and meetings with all the operators of artisan boats, shellfish gatherers, market buyers and local ecological groups in order to collect relevant data on the fisheries (1).

From the onset there has been a systematic collection of the rich local ecological and environmental knowledge regarding commercial species, by-catch and discards, fishing efforts and their space-time distribution, as well as the identification of various threats to the health of the ecosystems in the Fish Reserve and marine surroundings of the Doñana National Park.  The relationship between the various fishing stakeholders and other local agents was also analysed which served to detect relevant aspects and synergies that will enhance the environmental and social benefits of this initiative.  Meetings were held with the General Fishing Directorate of the Board of Andalusia and with members of the Fish Reserve Monitoring Committee in order to set the work foundations in connection with the concerns and needs set forth by the fishing sector.

A preliminary diagnosis (2) was prepared with all the information that was gathered and it was shared and discussed with the fishers of Chipiona, Rota and Sanlúcar, managers, parties responsible for the scientific monitoring of the Reserve and the NGO at a workshop held in June 2016, in Chipiona. During this workshop, there were joint statements and assessments of the diagnosis in work groups. The stakeholders shared experiences, identified challenges and ensured work synergies to define future proposals and action plans. The meetings encouraged the participants to make proposals and prioritise the management scopes, scientific and marketing knowledge (3).

Among the conclusions of this workshop, there was the collective desire to ensure more participation, an adaptive management of the Fish Reserve with decision-making and changes of rules that include specific monitoring indicators to guarantee their effectiveness. The participants noted the lack of communication between the sector and scientific entities; it was stated that identifying cooperation mechanisms would improve the effectiveness of the rules implemented and allow fishers to contribute their day-to-day observations. Attention was also given to the integration of marketing strategies within the management plans.

In June 2017, an informal fishing group that had been proposed at the Fish Reserve Monitoring Committee, one of the recommendations from the Chipiona workshop, was established, as an initiative by several stakeholders. The objectives of this group are:

- Knowledge of the management measures that govern the activities.

- Monitoring the fisheries, through the indicators set by the fishing sub-committee, in order to assess the effectiveness of the regulations, ensure the follow-up on the planning of the fishing activities, and the public use of the marine resources and space.

- Providing feedback on the efforts by the main stakeholders that rely on the proper management of the space and its resources.




- Approval of the “Ongoing Reserve” project that will implement the governance tools based on the scientific-technical monitoring and sustainability indicators, through the participation of the stakeholders of the Guadalquivir fish reserve.

- Conduct an assessment of the main commercial fisheries within the Reserve.

- Seek the undertaking of the Board of Andalusia to monitor the agreements and measures agreed upon at the last meeting of the Fish Reserve’s Monitoring Committee on 23/12/2016.




The gathering of boat-to-boat information during the initial diagnosis of the fishery at the Guadalquivir Fish Reserve has enabled establishing trust relationships, collecting abundant useful information, promoting a very ample participation in the process, fostering an interest and very positive involvement by the sector.

A markedly inclusive strategy has ensured great social and political support in the region.

Participatory workshops duly planned ahead, such as the joint workshop, propitiate dialogues and exemplary cooperation that increase over the course thereof and foster a work frame based on trust and transparency.

A multi-disciplinary approach, including social sciences, enables to better identify the environmental, economic and social challenges.




FECOPESCA (Cádiz Federation of Fisheries Association)

Fishers´ Association of Sanlúcar

Organización de Productores de Pesca Artesanal de Cádiz (APP 18 de Chipiona) (Organization of Artisan Fisheries of Cádiz)

Fishers´ Association of Conil de la Frontera

Sociedad Cooperativa de Pescadores del Mar de Rota (Mar de Rota Fishers Cooperative Association)

GALP Costa Noroeste (Norwest Coast Fisheries Local Action Group)

Instituto Español de Oceanografía (Spanish Institute of Oceanography)

Agencia de Gestión Agraria y Pesquera de Andalucía AGAPA (Agency of Agricultural and Fishing Management of Andalusia)

University of Seville

WWF Spain

Sociedad para el Desarrollo de las Comunidades Costeras SOLDECOCOS (Association for the Development of Coastal Communities)




Artisan fishing in the Guadalquivir Fish Reserve.

Outcome of the process for a Participatory Diagnose of the Fishing Activities at the Guadalquivir Estuary Fish Reserve.

Instituto Español de Oceanografía de Cádiz, Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas and Universidad de Sevilla; Grupo de Desarrollo Pesquero de la Costa Noroeste, Dirección General de Pesca de la Junta de Andalucía, Agencia de Gestión Agraria y Pesquera (AGAPA), Jarife, Ager- Vneriensis, and observers from other fishing areas, such as San Pedro del Pinatar and Galicia, WWF and SOLDECOCOS.


  1. .

Stakeholders involved

Used tools

Otras iniciativas

In we use cookies that are our own and of third parties to obtain statistical data about our users’ browsing and to show advertisements related to their preferences resulting from the analysis of its browsing habits. If you continue to browse, we assume you are accepting the use thereof. You may change the settings or obtain more information about our cookies policy here.