Volume 57

Effects of Divers Fishing in the San Andres Archipelago: Considerations towards Fisheries Management and Conservation

Prada, M.C.; Castro-González, E.; Grandas-Olarte, Y.; Connolly, E.
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Date: November, 2004

Pages: 905-916

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

City: St. Petersburg, Florida

Country: USA


Divers in the San Andres Archipelago have been fishing in the last 20 years, but their operations have significantly expanded during last five years. This fishing technique has changing through time mostly in number of divers, fishing trips and fishing gears, accounting for a net increase in fishing effort. Diving techniques promote the use of scuba gears (including hookahs) and the spear guns which are of common use, even artesanal fishers are presently using these autonomous techniques which in the past were associated only to illegal industrial operations. However, there are many other aspects that divers are influencing the fishery in the Archipelago. Aspects related to use of new and hallower fishing areas, which contain higher percentage of corals contributing to greater impacts to benthic habitats. Similarly, new target species including spiny lobsters, groupers and snappers (potentially during reproductive season) or juvenile queen conch are of divers interest including sea turtles. Divers not following safety operations are suffering health problems, as had been reported for the region in the past. Perhaps, one of the most important effects of divers in the archipelago is related to the socio-cultural influences on island’s customs, since majority of them came from Colombia’s continent or are foreign. Conflicts between divers and line or trap fishermen are increasing, because there are believed to be responsible for the significantly reduction of demersal fish production. This paper discuss all the aspects described above and provide important considerations for the fisheries management and the definition of the MPA’s management plan which is being elaborated in this moment.

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