Volume 71

Fishers’ Observations of Climate Change Impacts on the Flyingfish Fishery in Barbados

Anderson Kinch;Hazel Oxenford
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Date: November, 2018

Pages: 146-147

Event: Proceedings of the Seventy Annual Gulf and Caribbean Fisheries Institute

City: San Andres Island

Country: Colombia


Barbados is famously known as ‘the land of the flyingfish’ because of its significant flyingfish fishery which has traditionally contributed about 60% of the island’s total annual fish landings by weight. However, in recent years the availability of flyingfish has fluctuated widely, disrupting the flyingfish fishery and giving cause for concern. Here we report on the many changes observed at sea by fishers over the last decade and on recent changes in the traditional flyingfish fishery. Fisher observations include substantial changes in the strength and direction of ocean currents and winds, changes in sea state, ocean colour, and the presence of Sargassum seaweed. Impacts on the fishery, as reported by fishers, include fewer days at sea, unpredictable availability and reduced catchability of flyingfish, changes in flyingfish behaviour, use of smaller mesh gillnets and change in target species. We conclude that these observations are consistent with the projected climate change impacts, and they highlight the critical importance of fisher observations (traditional knowledge) in providing firsthand information that is highly relevant to fishery management, and that contributes to a better understanding of climate-related changes and impacts, especially in this region where oceanographic data and research are extremely limited.

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