CURRENT STATUS OF FISHERIES RESOURCES IN THE A RCHIPELAGO SABANA-CAMAGÜEY, CUBA
The main objectives of the present study were to describe the historical development of finfish fisheries in the Archipelago Sabana-Camagüey and adjacent northeast region (Cuba), and to assess the current status of fisheries resources. Species and size composition of trawl, trap, and gillnet catches were surveyed, fisheries statistics from fishing enterprises of the area were analysed, and experienced fishermen were interviewed. The historical evolution of catches and changes in fishing effort since 1962 is described. After a growth phase in catches resulting from increasing fishing effort, the fisheries reached a level of overexploitation by the second half of the 70s. The reduction of fishing effort and the establishment of some regulations has facilitated a partial recovery and limited stability for several years, but since the 1990s a clear phase of decline has begun and several important species show evidence of overfishing. Subsistence and sport fishing dramatically increased in this period, and the magnitude of their impact on the fish communities seems to be important. Analyses of the size composition of trawl and trap catches has demonstrated a high mortality of juveniles and non-commercial fishes due to the low selectivity of these fishing gears and due to inadequate legal minimum sizes for several species. The impacts of destructive fishing gears on fishing resources are described and measures are suggested for the sustainable management of fisheries in the region.
Fisheries resources; Fin fishes; Cuba
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