Volume 55

The Sea Urchin Fishery of Saint Lucia, West Indies:A Challenge to Management Autborities

De Beauville-Scott, S.
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Date: 2004

Pages: 1013

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

City: Xel Ha

Country: Mexico


Sea urchins, a once popular resource, declined considerably in the early 1980=s due to over harvesting. A 3-year ban imposed by the Department ofFisheries and regular monitoring of stocks by this Department in collaboration with Caribbean Natural resource Institute and resource harvesters allowed stocks to recuperate. In addition, a community approach to management was implemented. This approach offered considerable potential sinceit placed much of the responsibility for resource conservation on the harvesters themselves. In the 1990s, this type of management proved quite successful in this fishery, as harvesters came forward on a number of occasions to give information on the status of the stock in their respective areas. However, in 1993 - 1999 unknown factors, not believed to be associated with harvesting activities, caused a markedly low recruitment of juveniles.\After this period of low recruitment into the sea urchin fishery, ongoing monitoring revealed that during the period November, 2000 to Febroary, 2001 there was a high level of recruitment. The adult populations were also relatively high as compared to previous years. As such, the Department of Fisheries, along with some of the more active harvesters, agreed that the numbers were high enough to withstand a harvest period.\However, since the harvest period in mid-September, 2001, illegal harvesting has continued to such an extent that post harvest sea urchin surveys reveal that the fishery has been decimated in most areas.\The paper discusses how factors such as, manpower constraints within key agencies, weak collaborative arrangements among key institutions, large number of harve stable areas, and poor memory of pasts events, can affect the effectiveness of management authorities.

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