Early stages of snapper-grouper exploitation in the Caribbean (Bay Islands, Honduras)

Type Article
Date 2005-06
Language English
Author(s) Gobert Bertrand1, Berthou Patrick2, Lopez E3, Lespagnol Patrick4, Turcios Maria Dolores Oqueli, Macabiau Christophe5, Portillo Pedro6
Affiliation(s) 1 : Inst Rech Dev, F-29280 Plouzane, France.
2 : Inst Francais Rech Exploitat Mer, F-29280 Plouzane, France.
3 : Colonia Altamira, Tegucigalpa, Honduras.
4 : Inst Francais Rech Exploitat Mer, F-34203 Sete, France.
5 : PolySpace Technol, F-92120 Montrouge, France.
6 : Univ Antilles Guyane, F-97159 Pointe a Pitre, Guadeloupe.
Source Fisheries Research (0165-7836) (Elsevier), 2005-06 , Vol. 73 , N. 1-2 , P. 159-169
DOI 10.1016/j.fishres.2004.12.008
WOS© Times Cited 16
Keyword(s) Top level predators, Selective fishing effort, Caribbean, Artisanal fisheries, Reef fisheries, Groupers, Snappers
Abstract In the Caribbean, snappers (Lutjanidae) and groupers (Serranidae) are often heavily exploited by artisanal or industrial fisheries. This paper analyzes the catches of an artisanal fishery selectively targeting these species with a moderate fishing pressure in the Bay Islands (Honduras), and discusses the implications on the understanding of the early stages of development of reef fisheries. Although snappers and groupers are targeted with handlines and spearguns in the whole archipelago, the differences in species diversity and size structure of the catch reveals various exploitation patterns. In most areas, a depletion is observed for the most vulnerable snapper and grouper species, and most other species are mainly exploited in their juvenile phase; clear signs of an intensification process are apparent in one of the areas. The comparison of the relative production in the Bay Islands with other reef fisheries in the Caribbean suggests that higher values may be related to moderate fishing pressure and appropriate combinations of fishing effort and selectivity. This example shows how fisheries strictly targeting a high quality resource with selective fishing techniques can be quite productive even at high levels of effort, but also that they are progressively lead to broaden their species range (sooner or later at the expense of the most vulnerable, often large-sized, species) while increasingly using less selective gears.
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