Volume 68

Determining Effective Fisheries Monitoring and Assessment Approaches in Data-limited Contexts: A Case Study of the Fisheries in Montserrat and Curaçao

Thomas, L.R., K.J. Siegel, B. Owashi, A.J. Estep, T. Gedamke, and S.E. Lester
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Date: November, 2015

Pages: 238 - 246

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

City: Panama City

Country: Panama


Science-based fisheries management requires accurate assessments of the status of marine resources, which depend on appropriate fisheries monitoring strategies. Given resource limitations, identifying the most effective monitoring and assessment approach for a fishery can pose a significant challenge. There is a growing body of literature on fishery assessment methods for data-limited contexts. However, there are few published examples of successful applications of these data-limited methods as a tool for informing small-scale fishery management. We present the first stages of monitoring strategies and preliminary results of data-limited fisheries analyses on two Caribbean islands: Montserrat and Curaçao. Although both islands have limited amounts of existing fisheries data, we found that each island required a different approach to monitoring due to differences in their fisheries’ characteristics. Curaçao is a large and more developed island with dispersed landing sites and no existing fisheries monitoring, and thus requires a more detailed characterization of the fishery in order to design an appropriate monitoring plan. On the other hand, Montserrat is a small island with one main landing site and a long-term catch monitoring program, allowing us to conduct analyses on existing data and expand the current monitoring program to include additional information. We provide preliminary results from length-based analyses for several key target species on Montserrat, including red hind (Epinephelus guttatus), blue tang (Acanthurus coeruleus), and squirrelfish (Holocentrus adscensionis). We discuss fishery-dependent and fishery-independent monitoring options available on each island as well as approaches for integrating both data types. We also review lessons learned from the two case studies and how factors such as existing information, fishery management goals, available resources, and local capacity will inform next steps.

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