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So How Many Fish DO We Catch in the Caribbean, five years ago

Posted on December 17, 2016

Just came across this paper by Trinidadian fisheries expert Dr. Robin Ramdeen, when working with the University of British Columbia, Fisheries Center, headed by the globally recognized Daniel Pauly. The report was presented at the 2012 Gulf and Caribbean Fisheries Institute, entitled “Reconstructed Total Catches by the Marine Fisheries of Small Island States in the Wider Caribbean (1950 – 2010)


Accurately recording marine fisheries catches is difficult and costly and thus under-reporting of fisheries catches occurs worldwide. Caribbean fisheries are typically small-scale operations, with a labour-intensive and dispersed nature, which make them especially difficult to monitor. To document the extent of this problem, time series of total fisheries catches by 10 island countries in the Wider Caribbean Region were estimated from 1950 – 2010 using an established ‘catch reconstruction’ methodology. This approach uses landing statistics supplied by Caribbean member countries to the FAO, and then adjusts these data for unreported components based on other accessible data and information sources. These catch reconstructions illustrate a substantial level of under-reporting. For example, the reconstructed catches of Haiti and Jamaica were on average 3 and 4.3 times higher, respectively, than landings reported by these countries to the FAO. Total unreported catches for 10 Caribbean islands over the time period 1950-2010 were over 5 million tonnes, with average annual unreported catches of 54,000 tonnes. Unfortunately, under-reported catches can lead to erroneous interpretations on fisheries trends and substantially under-value the socio-economic importance of small-scale fisheries. Comprehensive accounts of historic time series of total marine fisheries catches, including largely underestimated subsistence and recreational sectors, are needed correctly assess the status of fisheries and their supporting resources. 

KEYWORDS: Catch reconstruction, under-reporting, fisheries accounting 

Since this is a five-year-old report, maybe new FAO Fisheries Reports for the insular Caribbean are now more accurate than the ~40% accuracy found by Ramdeen’s study. Sure.   bp

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