Report of the second meeting of the CFMC/WECAFC/OSPESCA/CRFM Spawning Aggregations Working Group (SAWG), Miami, Florida, 27–29 March 2018

Type Article
Date 2019
Language English
Other localization
Author(s) FAO
Contributor(s) Reynal LionelORCID
Source FAO Fisheries and Aquaculture Report (2070-6987) (FAO), 2019 , N. 1261
Note ISBN: 978-92-5-131406-7
Keyword(s) resource conservation, stock assessment, spawning, fishery management, action plans

The Second meeting of the CFMC/WECAFC/OSPESCA/CRFM Spawning Aggregations Working Group (SAWG) was held in Miami, Florida on 27 and 29 March 2018. In preparation for the meeting, organizers conducted surveys of participants on the current status of FSAs (Appendix D) and management measures in place (Appendix E). The meeting brought together more than 35 fisheries experts, conservationists, marine biologists and fisheries officers from 15 WECAFC member states, national fisheries bodies, fisheries technical advisory institutions, non-governmental organizations, academic scientists, fishers, and other relevant stakeholders. The experts at the meeting recognized the continued decline in stocks of many aggregating species, particularly groupers and snappers in the Western Central Atlantic. Participants re-affirmed and updated the recommendations of the Miami Declaration that Members of WECAFC made during the 1st SAWG meeting (2013). The SAWG developed a work plan and agreed to roles, responsibilities and timelines for key activities and actions. SAWG members have been extremely active in completing these activities between the time of the meeting and the publication of this report. Priority recommendations are included fully in Appendix A and summarized in priority order here: 1. Develop a Regional Fisheries Management Plan for Nassau grouper and other aggregating species. Present to WECAFC Secretariat in 2020. Members will develop National management plans congruent with the regional plan. 2. Determine the status of all snapper and grouper fish spawning aggregation (FSA) sites in the region and prioritize monitoring and conservation actions at sites based on local institutional capacity and resources, socio-economic value, and size and number of species. 3. Mobilize an active and strategic communications program to spread awareness and support FSA conservation and management actions in the WECAFC region. 4. Engage fishers more directly in FSA conservation and management and provide economic alternatives for FSA fishers. 5. Amplify and support international actions to protect FSAs (closed areas and seasons; gear restrictions, better enforcement). 6. Adopt a regional closed season for Nassau grouper, 1 December – 31 March; prohibit exports (whole, filet, roe) during the closed season. 7. Mobilize resources to support priorities above. Key elements of the work plan (included in full in Appendix A) are summarized in priority order here: 1. Develop a Regional Fisheries Management Plan (FMP) for FSA-forming species. 2. Develop a strategic outreach and education plan to broadly elevate the urgent regional need to conserve FSAs. This includes presentation at national and international meetings (e.g. SPAW, STAC, COP, etc.). 3. Conduct national status and needs assessments of FSA sites in Member countries (including ecological, socio-economic, legal and institutional assessment criteria). 4. Summarize and synthesize regional status and trends from national reports and define national and regional research and management priorities and actions. 5. Develop and activate a regional cooperative monitoring system for FSAs (including adoption of standardized protocols and data management system). 6. Share technical capacity for FSA identification, characterization, monitoring and conservation. 7. Mobilize resources to support FSA conservation and management from bilateral and international agencies, private foundations, non-profit NGOs, national governments, fishing interests, etc. 8. Maintain SAWG network communications and collaborative efforts via regular communications, participation in regional meetings (e.g. GCFI); work jointly on funding proposals, social media networks, and hold next SAWG meeting in 2020.

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FAO (2019). Report of the second meeting of the CFMC/WECAFC/OSPESCA/CRFM Spawning Aggregations Working Group (SAWG), Miami, Florida, 27–29 March 2018. FAO Fisheries and Aquaculture Report, (1261). Open Access version :