Publication Type
Conference Proceedings
UWI Author(s)
Author, Analytic
Gayle, Peter M.; Sikora, Michael; Woodley, Jeremy D.; Sary, Zsolt
Author Role
Author Affiliation
Center for Marine Sciences
Paper/Section Title
Efforts by Discovery Bay marine lab to Improve Jamaican north coast fish catches
Medium Designator
Connective Phrase
Editor/Compiler Role
Proceedings Title
Proceedings of the Sixth Conference Faculty of Pure and Applied edited by Daniel N. Coore and Robert J Lancashire.
Date of Meeting
March 18-20, 2003
Place of Meeting
University of the West Indies, Mona. Kingston, Jamaica
Place of Publication
Kingston, Jamaica
Publisher Name
Faculty of Pure and Applied Sciences
Date of Publication
Date of Copyright
Volume ID
Location in Work
Extent of Work
Packaging Method
Series Editor
Series Editor Role
Series Title
Series Volume ID
The Jamaican fin-fishery is largely artisanal, utilizing traps, hook-and line, spears and gill-nets. North coast reef stocks have been severely over-exploited and catch rates are low and usually comprised of small juveniles. Quality fish (grouper and snapper) are scare. Recruitment rates are low. The average catch in fish traps at Discovery Bay in 1990 was 0.19 kg/trap/day. Approximately 50 active fishers use the two main beaches. Almost half of them rely on fishing as their sole income earning activity. Most use trap as their primary and secondary gear. About 45% of fishers hook and line, and 21% use nets. A tenth of the fishers are spear fishers. Fishing effort is approximates 2,100 boat trip per year combined with over 1,500 spear fishing days per year. During the estimated 1,400 annual fishing rips (or boat days), nearly 7,500 traps hauls are made. About 600 boat days are spent hook and line fishing. Trolling may be done on the way fishing ground, but is rarely the main purpose of a trip. A small number of fishers use gill nets in shallow reef areas. The total catch of all fishing is about 14 tones per year, worth about US$ 68,500. This represents a yearly income of less than US$ 1500 per fisherman - US$ 4 per day Rehabilitating and over-exploited fishery depends upon reducing fishing effort a difficult goal when fishers are already earning title. In a coral reef fishery, only a few measures are practicable. These in clued the use of more selective gear, limited entry to the fishery, and the establishment of protected areas. The Fishers Improvement Programme (FIP) began in 1988 to assess the state of the fishery; discuss the state of the fishery, and possible remediation, with local fishers, while increasing their awareness of the possibilities of coral reef management and help local fishers introduce fishery management measures while monitoring their impact on fish stocks and catches. FIP initiated and education programme in reef fisheries and the possibilities of local management; a search for alternative occupations for fishers Irish Moss (Gracilaria) culture and floating cage culture of red hybrid Tilapia and encouraged the creation of a Discovery Bay Fishermens’ Association. In 1994, Association members agreed on a voluntary protected are within Discovery Bay. A Reserve Planning Group, representing all users of the bay contracted to use grant funds to employ rangers; mark Reserve boundaries and implement daily patrols in 1996. Other Management techniques focused on proposals that included some form of compensation (as in the case of the “two-for-one” mesh exchange) or alternative employment activity. Within two years of Reserve protection, fishers perceived and increase in fish abundance and asked that the protected areas be extended. Studies on fish populations in 1996-99, showed that the Reserve delayed age and size ate recruitment to the fishery and could have enhanced catches in adjacent waters. The failure to gain legal status, and lack of funds for patrolling after 1999, led to decline in compliance with the voluntary restrictions in fishing. The perception of more fish in the reserve increased to intensive to poach, making enforcement more difficult. At present, community action is not enough: legal status for the Reserve is essential. The main question for the future will the DBFR ever succeed really means (a) will it gain legal existence; (b) will it benefit the people of Discovery Bay; and (c) can it be sustained? The Fisheries Division is ready to proceeds with legalization of the Reserve, as soon as the Reserve Planning Group gives the go-ahead. This would benefit fish, fishers and the economy, though the full extent of those benefits and whether they will outweigh the costs unknown. The reserve was maintained fairly well for three years by advisory patrols. Their success depends on a degree status of voluntary compliance among local fishers hat waned when promised legal status did not materialize. Patrol are also expensive (about US$15,000 / yr) and long term funding at that level is unlikely to be available. The development of local pride and peer pressure would be the best guarantee of sustainability. Recent DBML/FIP has sought to receive the enthusiasm for the concept of a Reserve by returning its attention to the question of sustainability. Economic alternatives must be provided for those who are being called upon to make the sacrifice of reducing fishing effort by agreeing to the establishment of a Reserve. A USIAD-Peace Corps Small Projects Assistance grant is being used to facilitate the documentation of offshore fish stocks (for pelagic and deep species); the determination of the best techniques and training that will be required for local fishers to safely exploit these stocks. This will hopefully reduce the fishing pressure on inshore reef fishes and also increase the return stocks the local fishermen.....
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