Caribbean Fisheries Working Group Calls for Closing Season
21 November 2013: The Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO) announced that the Joint Working Group of the Caribbean Fisheries Management Council (CFMC), Western Central Atlantic Fishery Commission (WECAFC), Organization for the Fisheries and Aquaculture Sector of the Central American Isthmus (OSPESCA) and the Caribbean Regional Fisheries Mechanism (CRFM) on Spawning Aggregations recorded reduced numbers of fish, such as groupers and snappers, in many aggregations and the relatively smaller size of most remaining aggregations, due to overfishing.
The Working Group met in Miami, Florida, US, from 29-31 October 2013, and reported that smaller aggregations of adults are producing fewer fish to replenish the region's fisheries. The Working Group further noted that management aimed to conserve spawning aggregations may reduce short-term profits for some fishers, but would ensure long-term sustainable fisheries. It highlighted that maintaining healthy populations of groupers and snappers is critical for food security and the livelihoods of coastal communities in the Caribbean region.
The Working Group thus called for a regional closed season and concerted action by the range states of these fish species and recommended to WECAFC, CFMC and the Specially Protected Areas and Wildlife (SPAW) Protocol action to stop further declines in the fisheries. [FAO News Release]