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

bmp marinepark at bmp.org
Fri Apr 30 11:49:25 EDT 2004

Hello everyone,

I'm happy to inform you that we have made good progress lately with the
fisherman on Bonaire. We are on our way to establish some fish protected
areas (no fishing zones). Next month fishermen from St. Lucia will come to
Bonaire and share experiences from their zones with our fishermen as part of
this proccess.

Also, (by fishermen request this time) we are in the process of setting up
moorings for the fishermen to avoid the rock anchors. We are waiting for
indications from the fishermen (they have to agree among themselves and
that's not always easy) on the locations to place them.

So yes, we hear and we're working on it, however the proccess is a lot
slower than we would like.
Fernando Simal
Interim Manager
Bonaire National Marine Park
PO Box 368
Netherlands Antilles
Tel:  599 7178444
Fax: 599  7177318

Email: marinepark at bmp.org
Homepage: www.bmp.org
----- Original Message -----
From: "Szmant, Alina" <szmanta at uncw.edu>
To: "Melissa Keyes" <mekvinga at yahoo.com>; <Coral-List at coral.aoml.noaa.gov>
Sent: Friday, April 30, 2004 08:01 AM
Subject: RE: [Coral-List] Distructive fishing practices in the

> Dear Melissa:
> You paint a very sad and I am sure true story about the inexorable human
fishing pressure on Caribbean reefs.  I vividly remember the huge schools of
midnights and blues along Salt River canyon at dusk back in the 80s (during
Hydrolab days) and it really makes me mad that anyone would kill those
animals.  When I dove there in 2000 I noticed how depleted the fishes were
(as well as the corals) compared to a decade earlier.  In Bonaire I also
remarked to Kalli DeMeyer about tha lack of fishes; and my first encounter
with a local was with a fellow fishing from the back step of the house we
had rented:  he had a pile of 6-8 inch coneys and red hinds next to his
> Bonaire still has really healthy coral compared to anywhere else I have
visited recently in the Caribbean, but without the fishes, the coral
community is poised for a disaster... A major disturbance that kills a lot
of coral and it may end up looking like Jamaica!
> Thank you for bringing your observations to our attention.  Maybe some of
the managers will read your message and work harder to prevent such
> Alina Szmant
> -----Original Message-----
> From: coral-list-bounces at coral.aoml.noaa.gov on behalf of Melissa Keyes
> Sent: Thu 4/29/2004 6:00 PM
> To: Coral-List at coral.aoml.noaa.gov
> Cc:
> 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
> 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.
> Cheers!
> Melissa E. Keyes,
> s/v Vinga, Caribbean
> ---------------------------------
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