The United States Caribbean: A New Approach to Shallow-Water Reef Fish Management
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Inhabitants of the United States Caribbean rely heavily on their fisheries as a source of food and employment. Because aquatic resources are common property,1 they are extremely attractive to islanders, many of whom are landless and lack alternative opportunities to make a living.2 For the past 30 years, Shallow-water Reef Fish (SWRF) catches in Puerto Rico (P.R.) and the United States Virgin Islands (U.S.V.I.) have been decreasing even as the number of fishermen increased and fishing techniques were modernized.3 Despite federal and state laws recommending more stringent conservation measures since the mid-80s, to this date, SWRF resources are still decreasing in the U.S. Caribbean. A variety of natural and anthropogenic stresses affect marine fisheries of P.R. and the USVI. More specifically, I believe that three socially-related issues currently hinder effective fisheries management in the region: the western style approach, enforcement, and lack of fishermen’s participation in management. The aim of this project is to determine what practices need to change in order to lead to the desired fisheries` management4 objective: the recovery and sustainable yield of SWRF in the U.S. Caribbean. Additionally, I propose new management measures, which complement the existing managerial structure, and should improve the current situation.
DepartmentNicholas School of the Environment and Earth Sciences
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