poverty and reefs

Joshua Cinner jcin5062 at postoffice.uri.edu
Mon Jan 25 18:14:09 EST 1999

We're seeing problems with overfishing using spears. This is a "selective" 
method and elliminates the larger preditors. Large preditors are also 
morereproductive. This practice has resulted in an increase in populations 
of fish which damage the reef (farmers like Damsels and blueheads). 
Personally I have observed expensive spears used by all classes and this 
preferred recreational fishing method may be more an expression of 
individual machismo than an expression of a desire to sport fish. I've 
seen small trunk fish and sea fans targeted and I have seen spears used in 
areas where there clearly are more spear fishermen than fish worthy of 
spearing. I for one would be interested in seeing an emperical study of 
what motivates this behavior. 
Mary Ann Lucking 
corals at caribe.net

Mary Anne and others,
In the marine park I was working for in Montego Bay, spearfishing was
banned for just that reason.  However, it seemed that the spearfishers are
considered the lowest on the totem pole, most of the spearfishers were
otherwise "unemployable" in the formal job market- i.e. just got out of
jail, lacked an education, or were from the wrong district and people
wouldn't hire them.  Without alternatives, the incidence of these
regulations beared heavily upon them and they were reluctant to comply.
Conflicts were commonplace among our poor rangers, often involving death
threats.  Your claim that overfishing of certain species is degrading reefs
seems to be supported by much of the literature I have read, should I also
be looking into whether certain incomes or gear types target such keystone
species and are "indirectly" responsible for reef degradation?  

Joshua Cinner
2550 Kingstown Rd.
Kingston, RI
(401) 783-6719
jcin5062 at postoffice.uri.edu

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