[Coral-List] Re. Low fishing regions of the Caribbean

Mark Spalding mark at mdspalding.co.uk
Fri Jun 4 06:19:53 EDT 2004

I've just completed a new "Guide to the Coral Reefs of the Caribbean" (U California Press, due out Sept 2004). In so doing I've tried to find out everything about every corner of the Caribbean! Again and again I would come across mention of remote reefs and then find that they have been overexploited and are not the hidden gems we might hope for. There are a few exceptions, but most probably don't need publicity of a list-server announcement.

To tantalize I would suggest that in some countries there are a few "spots". In small parts of the Bahamas, Cuba, Belize, Turks and Caicos low fishing pressure, SOMETIMES combined with good management, has allowed fish stocks to remain healthy(-ish).

Remoteness often doesn't help. It seems as though the Florida Middlegrounds still has quite a large number of deeper reefs (rising to 20-30m) with large numbers of big predatory fish. But a main source of information about what is on these was web-sites of commercial operators advertising to take fishers out to dive and spear these virtually unknown and unmapped gems - in just a few dives the really big "breeders" will all be gone, before the scientists really got there.



Mark D Spalding, PhD
Marine Ecologist and 
Research Associate, Cambridge Coastal Research Unit

Postal address: 17 The Green, Ashley
Newmarket, Suffolk, CB8 9EB, UK
Tel: +44 (0)1638 730760
e-mail: mark at mdspalding.co.uk

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