Baja Project’s involvement with the fishing co-operative has included providing cost-benefit analyses on selling the fish to additional markets, and improving business skills through Excel and bookkeeping workshops. Baja Project aims to continue help improving the business skills of the fishermen through workshops, and aid in the diversification of products through aquaculture.
Formed in 2003, the fishing co-op employs about 75% of the adult male population in El Barril.
The majority of families depend on fishing activities as a principal source of income. In truth, the “co-op” does not operate as a true cooperative, but as a sociedad, in which each individual fisherman sells his catch to trucks from Ensenada, Tijuana and Mexicali.
During low seasons and/or when the buyer is not in the community, the fishermen often find odd jobs around the community or in nearby villages to help sustain a regular income. Several discussions of investing in a refrigeration truck have occurred over the years between the co-op members. This would cut out the middleman in getting the fish to the market, and result in an increase in revenue for the co-op. An ice house, which was supplied by the government, is currently located near the edge of the water, but is not in operation because of the exorbitantly high maintenance costs.