[Coral-List] Distructive fishing practices in the Caribbean - potential soluti ons!?

Spurgeon, James James.Spurgeon at jacobs.com
Fri Apr 30 11:55:48 EDT 2004

Dear Melissa and Coral Listers

Thanks for the email. Unfortunately your experiences highlight the tragic
situation faced in many places.  A major part of the problem is that the
full economic and social value of coral reefs (ie direct, indirect and
non-use values) are rarely known for any given location.  Even when such
knowledge exists, it is generally not acted upon appropriately (eg
parks/coastal management departments are not appropriately resourced and
inclusive in how they operate).  The necessary skills, tools and willpower
do exist - the problem is that the optimum solutions are rarely identified
nor suitably implemented.   

Through identification of values, beneficiaries and impactors; and by
exploring ways of maximising and appropriating values equitably on a
sustainable basis, one may be able to overcome some of problems you mention.

We are producing a report imminently for the American Samoa Department of
Commerce, that will hopefully help to address the above for the islands of
American Samoa.  This includes mapping of key coral values for all the
islands.  We hope it will be an example that others are able to and will

If we somehow manage to find funding to help get to Japan, we will be
presenting the approach and the illuminating results there.  

Best wishes
James Spurgeon - Executive Environmental Economist/Scientist
Toby Roxburgh - Marine Scientist

Tel: +44 (0)118 963 5346
Fax: +44 (0)118 926 3888 
E-mail: james.spurgeon at jacobs.com 
Web: www.jacobs.com

-----Original Message-----
From: coral-list-bounces at coral.aoml.noaa.gov
[mailto:coral-list-bounces at coral.aoml.noaa.gov]On Behalf Of Melissa
Sent: Thursday, April 29, 2004 11:00 PM
To: Coral-List at coral.aoml.noaa.gov
Subject: [Coral-List] Distructive fishing practices in the

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.
Melissa E. Keyes, 
s/v Vinga, Caribbean

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