[Coral-List] Synopsis of DFP in Caribbean

Stephen G. Dunbar sdunbar at ns.llu.edu
Tue May 18 19:17:09 EDT 2004

Synopsis of responses to Destructive Fishing Thread Started April 27
Adam Payne suggested that contacts, including the Centre for Marine 
Sciences (CMS) at UWI under the direction og George Warner, the Peace Corps 
and the Fisheries Improvement Project (FIP) at Discovery Bay Marine Lab 
would have current information on DFP in Jamaica. Payne stated that during 
his PhD research there (no years given) most fishing was done by spear 
fishermen or traps. Although minimum mesh sizes were stated, there was 
little regulation or enforcement.
John Ogden believes that there is little information on dynamite & cyanide 
fishing in Jamaica because these methods have not commonly been used there. 
While other chemicals, like bleach, have been used, Ogden stated that he 
had never heard of dynamite being used in Jamaica. However, while there in 
the early 70’s he had heard of it being used elsewhere in the Caribbean. 
According to John, most overfishing has been by fish traps.
Reefbase was suggested by John McManus as an excellent source for lit. on 
DFP and reef damage www.reefbase.org
Another excellent resource, provided by Judith Mendes, was Peter Espeut, a 
former Pew research fellow in fisheries and current director of Caribbean 
Coastal Area Management in Jamaica. See: www.ccam.org.jm.
Alexander Stone of Reef Guardian International, provided their website as a 
source of info on fish traps and fish trap impacts. See: www.reefguardian.org.
According to Iain Macdonald, dynamite fishing on J’s n coast would not 
presently be done because: (1) there are no fish left there to make it 
worth doing.  Macdonald also stated that cyanide fishing is very limited, 
most likely because there are so few fish. Ornamental fish trade is 
probably non-existent on N. coast and, (2) “Such practices are illegal and 
there are numerous outreach programs
that reach fisherman
” Macdonald 
thought that fish densities on S. Coast may be high enough to warrant such 
DFP, but he was unfamiliar with that side of the island.
Valeria Pizarro knows of some areas along the Caribbean coast of Columbia, 
near Santa Marta that were damaged (and remain damaged) by dynamite fishing 
about 10 years ago, but states that dynamite fishing in that area now is rare.
Dr Goreau emphasized that “Jamaica's largest offshore barrier reef was 
completely destroyed by dynamite a couple of decades ago by fishermen who 
bought dynamite stolen from rock quarries from the police.” However, there 
does not seem to be literature to support this. Goreau also stated that, “A 
lot of the South Coast fishermen were dynamite fishermen, with a handful of 
areas being especially bad. but now there is not much left for them to blow 
Discussions by Alina Szmant focused on the problem of human “unbridled, 
uncontrolled rate of human population growth” as a key problem of all coral 
reef ills and other marine and terrestrial systems. While fisherman are no 
more ignorant now than 100 years, Alina states that there are more of them 
now, and more mouths to feed. She emphasized that although over-fishing has 
a severe impact on coral reef ecosystem structure, global warming/bleaching 
has the biggest impact. She states
 “we are all guilty as charged for being 
alive and consuming.” Szmant believes that coming up with better 
technologies is not the answer, since new technologies will always lag 
behind the population growth. In her opinion, we have exceeded the capacity 
to feed, clothe and provide jobs and a decent standard of living for ourselves.
DeeVon Quirolo provided a testimony to the late Katy Thacker, who helped 
found the Negril Coral Reef Preservation Society, an NGO that helps to 
manage the Negril Marine Park that Katy worked to establish. She enlisted 
the help of local fishermen throughout Negril. Katy passed away this past 
Earth Day, April 22, 2004.
A substantial discussion by Jeremy Woodley who suggested that without the 
enlistment of local communities and the larger society in general, 
education alone (especially aimed only at the fisherman) would not suffice. 
Woodley agreed that education was an important component of affecting 
change, but that it had to be ongoing. It is clear that legislation and 
outside management are not the keys (by themselves). These are almost 
certain to fail without the co-management of resources by the communities 
that use and are affected by the resources. Another point that Jeremy made 
was that without major government programs, progressive change would come 
Some examples of successful programs that he provides are: the Caribbean 
Coastal Area Management Foundation, led by Peter Espeut, in the Portland 
Bight Protected Area (in St. Catherine, west of Kingston), The Portland 
Bight Fisheries Management Council, representing thousands of fishers, has 
planned protected areas and drawn up regulations. You can read something 
about it at http://www.unesco.org/csi/act/jamaica/jamai3e.htm
And the work of the Fisheries Improvement Programme, founded at Discovery 
Bay, Jamaica, in 1988.
Some specific references provided by Jeremy are:
Sary Z, Oxenford HA, Woodley JD (1997) Effects of an increase in trap mesh 
size on an over-exploited coral reef fishery at Discovery Bay, Jamaica. 
Marine Ecology Progress Series 154:107-120

Woodley JD, Sary Z (2002) Development of a locally-managed fisheries 
reserve at Discovery Bay, Jamaica. Proc 9 ICRS (2) 627-633

Woodley JD, Sary Z, Gayle PMH (2003) Fishery management measures instituted 
at Discovery Bay, Jamaica, with special reference to establishment of the 
Fisheries Reserve. Gulf and Caribbean Research 14 (2) 181-193.

The above synopsis of comments to the DFP in the Caribbean discussion was 
prepared by Steve Dunbar. I apologize for any over-simplifications or any 
statements that do not reflect the meanings or thoughts intended. Thanks 
again to all those who replied and continue the discussion off list.

Dr. Stephen G. Dunbar, PhD
Assistant Professor, Marine Biology
Department of Natural Sciences
Loma Linda University,
Loma Linda, Ca. 92350
Ph. (909) 558-1000 Ext. 48903
Fax (909) 558 - 0259
LLU Faculty Page:

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