Volume 59

Quantifying marine biodiversity changes in the southeastern Caribbean

Mohammed, E.
Download PDF Open PDF in Browser

Other Information

Date: November, 2006

Pages: 22-Sep

Event: Proceedings of the Fifty Nine Annual Gulf and Caribbean Fisheries Institute

City: Belize City

Country: Belize


Quantifying anthropogenic and climatic impacts on fisheries and the biodiversity of associated ecosystems has been the subject of increasing research over the last decade. In the Caribbean region such analyses have focused on region-wide declines in hard corals, phase-shifts in coral reef community structure, declines in pelagic shark populations in the Gulf of Mexico and species extinctions due to historical overfishing. This paper analyses specific ecosystem-based indicators for fisheries management: marine trophic index, mean fish length and fishing-in-balance indices, to quantify changes in biodiversity of species in the marine ecosystem of the southeastern Caribbean region using previously reconstructed time series data (1950 to 2000) on fisheries catches of five countries, Saint Lucia, St Vincent and the Grenadines, Grenada, Barbados and Trinidad and Tobago. Interpretation of trends in the selected indicators considers documented accounts of country specific fishery developmental policies as well as economic, technological and social factors which may impact on the use of fisheries catch data for assessing changes in marine biodiversity. This paper also identifies some anecdotes in historical and anthropological literature as well as scientific and fishery-related surveys conducted in the region which may be useful for examining historical changes in abundance and biodiversity of marine organisms over a longer time series than that based on existing fisheries catch data. Within these sources of information lies the potential for a shift in the current baselines for both fisheries and biodiversity management in the region.

PDF Preview