Volume 72

Documenting Status and Mapping Suitability of Caribbean Moored Fish Aggregation Device (MFAD) Fisheries

Wilson, M; J. Lawson; M.I. Rivera-Hechem; J.C. Villaseñor-Derbez
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Date: November, 2019

Pages: 33-35

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

City: Punta Cana

Country: Dominican Republic


The use of moored fish aggregating devices (MFADs) in the Caribbean has increased dramatically over the past several decades. MFAD fisheries have the potential to enhance fisher incomes, improve food security, and provide an alternative to less sustainable forms of fishing. However, concerns have arisen regarding insufficient management, environmental impacts, and conflict among fishers. This study addresses significant gaps in our understanding of the extent of MFAD proliferation and status of MFAD management throughout the Caribbean, as well as how social and ecological factors interact to drive the success of a given MFAD fishery. First, we report preliminary results of an island-level survey of estimated FAD numbers as well as FAD legislation and enforcement. These initial results show substantial variation across islands in terms of total FAD numbers and the use of public vs. private MFADs. While some islands have instituted regulations regarding the deployment and use of MFADs, enforcement remains a challenge across the region. In the second component of this study, we integrate social, ecological, and oceanographic datasets to generate a spatial suitability analysis to show areas where FAD deployment would be environmentally feasible, socially beneficial in terms of local livelihoods and nutrition, and responsibly managed. Our spatial model helps identify areas of both promise and concern and provides guidance as to how to social and environmental factors can be optimized to improve existing and emerging MFAD fisheries

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