Volume 62

Autopsy of the Eastern Venezuela Trawl fishery: Analysis of Landings and Fishing Effort Data

Mendoza, J,; Marcano, L,; Alió, J,; Arocha, F.
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Date: November, 2009

Pages: 69-76

Event: Proceedings of the Sixty -Second Annual Gulf and Caribbean Fisheries Institute

City: Cumaná

Country: Venezuela


The shrimp trawl fishery in Venezuela had an important and controversial development since its beginning in the 1950´s until its definitive closure in March 2009. This activity reached its peak in the early 1990´s when slightly more than 40,000 metric tons of fishes, mollusks and crustaceans were landed by a fleet composed of approximately 450 vessels. This fleet began operations in the Gulf of Venezuela in the western part of the country and later expanded to the eastern region at the end of the 1960´s. In this study we present an analysis of available information on landings of different taxonomic groups and the nominal fishing effort generated by the fleet between 1970 and 2008 in eastern Venezuela. Data are grouped according to 3 management units: 1) Unare-Píritu shelf, 2) Margarita and Sucre shelf and 3) the Guayana shelf. In each of these sectors we used dynamic surplus production models to estimate biomass trajectories, Maximum Sustainable Yields and the corresponding fishing effort. Despite significant reductions in fishing effort in the last 15 years, the majority of the fishery resources analyzed presented symptoms of overfishing at the end of the time series. The different factors that restrict the utility of the existing data to assess fishery resources are commented and an analysis of the spatial distribution of the main species and the species composition and magnitude of discards is presented.

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