[Coral-List] Distructive fishing practices in the Caribbean--long

Amanda_Bourque at nps.gov Amanda_Bourque at nps.gov
Fri Apr 30 10:50:37 EDT 2004

Let us not fail to acknowledge the crippling social and environmental
legacy of colonialism that leads to lack of education and opportunity in
most Caribbean nations.  Environmental managers cannot possibly implement
effective conservation policies without sweeping economic and social
changes.  It is difficult for people in the grip of "grinding poverty" to
worry about environmental issues - survival usually tops the list.

Amanda Bourque
Biscayne National Park
9700 SW 328 Street
Homestead, FL  33033
305-230-1144 x3013 phone
305-230-1190 fax
amanda_bourque at nps.gov

|         |           Melissa Keyes              |
|         |           <mekvinga at yahoo.com>       |
|         |           Sent by:                   |
|         |           coral-list-bounces at coral.ao|
|         |           ml.noaa.gov                |
|         |                                      |
|         |                                      |
|         |           04/29/2004 03:00 PM MST    |
  |                                                                                                                              |
  |       To:       Coral-List at coral.aoml.noaa.gov                                                                               |
  |       cc:       (bcc: Amanda Bourque/BISC/NPS)                                                                               |
  |       Subject:  [Coral-List] Distructive fishing practices in the Caribbean--long                                            |

Dear Dr Dunbar, and fellow Listers,

Non-Jamaica comments.  Jamaica is so desperately poor that the surrounding
sea is probably doomed.

I have lived in the Caribbean, and worked in the scuba industry since 1988.
In St. Croix, my home, I've worked at dive shops, filling scuba tanks for
the fishermen.  While not approving of their lifestyle, I would pretend to
be approving, and ask questions about their practices.

One fellow bragged about how many three foot "Midnight Parrotfish" he'd
shot on the Salt River West Wall.  Another was laughing about the 300+
pound catches of reef fish they would get in the Buck Island Park (National
Monument), before nine in the morning, when the Park people might show up.

The Department of Parks and Recreation people here in the USVI are
underfunded, under staffed, and over worked.

I spend  six months each year, hurricane season, on my boat moored in
Bonaire, in what is a park.  I went to a Marine Protected area there to
help with a supervised coral/ fish survey.  The lady conducting the program
said, "There are NO fish."  I couldn't comprehend, until my buddy and I,
finished our task of placing the survey measuring tape, burned the
remaining air in our tanks going down to 120 feet of depth.  The coral was
pristine and beautiful, but the lady was right, there were NO fish.  Zero
grunts, coneys, or any fish , umm, spearable sized.  At 120 feet or so
depth, I did see a large "Tiger Grouper"  much deeper, running away as fast
as he/she could swim.

There are never any commercial boatloads of recreational divers in the
area.  Perhaps their park people are as over worked and underfunded as all
the others worldwide.

On Bonaire, the 'traditional' fishermen in their little boats are
restricted from using anchors of any type.  They are allowed to use heavy
cotton string tied to a big rock for an anchor.  Their smashing damage is
obvious to a sharp eye on nearly every dive, I very sad to say.  And,
occasionally, the string is all tangled in the reef.  I already have been
chastised for reporting what I see there.

In the British Virgin Islands, there is an open season on sea turtles!  You
can go to an Island restaurant and eat turtle, as you can in the Bahamas!
I know they're not coral, and perhaps shouldn't be mentioned here.

I have no desire to ever visit Jamaica, sorry.  The "grinding poverty"
there has upset cruising friends who did visit.


Melissa E. Keyes,
s/v Vinga, Caribbean

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