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Open Access An overview of Cuban commercial marine fisheries: the last 80 years

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This article is Open Access under the terms of the Creative Commons CC BY-NC-ND licence.

There is an urgent need to assess the status of fisheries in tropical waters, where fishing has targeted hundreds of species in complex ecosystems. Using a catch-based method, originally described by Food and Agriculture Organization staff to assess the status of global fisheries, the present study provides an overall, historical view of Cuban commercial marine fisheries to aid both fishery planners and managers. Here, I update a version of previous reviews of commercial marine fishery resources, providing a coherent picture of the Cuban landings in the Exclusive Economic Zone during the last 80 years. The data set examined revealed that, after a sustained catch increase between the mid-1950s and 1985, there was a marked decline of landings. Currently, 20% of fishery resources are fully exploited, 74% are overexploited, and 5% are collapsed. More worrisome is the increasing trend of overexploited and collapsed stocks and the declining trend in fully exploited and developing stocks since the 1980s. Only mullet (Mugilidae), a previously collapsed fishery resource, has shown signs of recovery. Overfishing is not the only factor associated with these declines; environmental degradation likely has also played a role. Regardless, Cuban fisheries are now at a critical stage. The immediate steps that should be adopted by fishery managers to achieve sustainability and long-term economic returns are to control and reduce fishing effort, to reestablish strict enforcement of fishery regulations, and to change damaging fishing practices.

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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Instituto de Ciencias del Mar (ICiMAR), Havana, Cuba;, Email: [email protected]

Publication date: April 1, 2018

This article was made available online on August 9, 2017 as a Fast Track article with title: "An overview of Cuban commercial marine fisheries: the last 80 years".

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  • The Bulletin of Marine Science is dedicated to the dissemination of high quality research from the world's oceans. All aspects of marine science are treated by the Bulletin of Marine Science, including papers in marine biology, biological oceanography, fisheries, marine affairs, applied marine physics, marine geology and geophysics, marine and atmospheric chemistry, and meteorology and physical oceanography.
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