Volume 65

Reconstructed Total Catches by the Marine Fisheries of Small Island States in the Wider Caribbean (1950 – 2010)

Ramdeen, R., S. Harper, L. Frotté, S. Lingard, N. Smith, K. Zylich, D. Zeller, and D. Pauly
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Date: November, 2012

Pages: 69 - 75

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

City: Santa Marta

Country: Colombia


Accurately recording marine fisheries catches is difficult and costly and thus under-reporting of fisheries catches occurs worldwide. Caribbean fisheries are typically small-scale operations, with a labour-intensive and dispersed nature, which make them especially difficult to monitor. To document the extent of this problem, time series of total fisheries catches by 10 island countries in the Wider Caribbean Region were estimated from 1950 – 2010 using an established ‘catch reconstruction’ methodology. This approach uses landing statistics supplied by Caribbean member countries to the FAO, and then adjusts these data for unreported components based on other accessible data and information sources. These catch reconstructions illustrate a substantial level of under-reporting. For example, the reconstructed catches of Haiti and Jamaica were on average 3 and 4.3 times higher, respectively, than landings reported by these countries to the FAO. Total unreported catches for 10 Caribbean islands over the time period 1950-2010 were over 5 million tonnes, with average annual unreported catches of 54,000 tonnes. Unfortunately, under-reported catches can lead to erroneous interpretations on fisheries trends and substantially under-value the socio-economic importance of small-scale fisheries. Comprehensive accounts of historic time series of total marine fisheries catches, including largely underestimated subsistence and recreational sectors, are needed correctly assess the status of fisheries and their supporting resources.

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