U.S. Caribbean Fish Trap Fishery Socioeconomic Study
Abstract:Concerns over the potential impacts of trap fishing on coral reefs and associated habitats prompted a socioeconomic study to characterize the U.S. Caribbean fish trap fishery in anticipation of management actions. Stratified random interviews of one hundred fishermen revealed the presence of a diverse fishery, with appreciable inter-island differences in levels of fishing dependence, fishing practices, and capital investment. High levels of fishing dependence were observed among fishermen in the U.S. Virgin Islands, whereas Puerto Rican fishermen exhibited a more diversified livelihood strategy. Fishermen from St. Croix derived 62% of their household income from fish traps, significantly more than fishermen from St. Thomas/St. John and Puerto Rico, who derived 45% and 41%, respectively, of their household incomes from fish traps. The St. Thomas/St. John fleet was also larger and more capital-intensive than the Crucian and Puerto Rican fleets. This structural heterogeneity suggests that fishermen from the various islands may respond differently to the same regulatory constraint. Thus, targeted policies may be necessary to improve the socioeconomic performance of the fishery and the political acceptability of management actions.
Document Type: Research Article
Publication date: May 1, 2008
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