Rapid Decline of Nassau Grouper Spawning Aggregations in Belize: Fishery Management and Conservation Needs

Sala, Enric and Ballesteros, Enric and Starr, Richard M. (2001) Rapid Decline of Nassau Grouper Spawning Aggregations in Belize: Fishery Management and Conservation Needs. Fisheries. pp. 23-30.

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    Abstract

    The Nassau grouper Epinephelus striatus) and other reef fishes aggregate in large numbers at specific locations and times to spawn. In Belize, as in the rest of the Caribbean, about one-third of the grouper spawning aggregations have disappeared due to overfishing. One of the last spawning aggregations still viable in Belize has decreased from 15,000 to fewer than 3,000 Nassau groupers in the last 25 years, a decline of more than 80%. The spawning aggregation was still open to fishing in January 2001, with a fishing quota of 900 groupers, which represented about 30% of the aggregation. The actual catch was at least 300 groupers. Fisheries models predict that, if fishing continues, the spawning aggregation will disappear by 2013, and the fishery will be abandoned by 2009 at the latest. Unsustainable fishing will eliminate the spawning aggregations in Belize, with subsequent negative effects on the grouper populations in the region. Since most of the spawning aggregations in Belize have now been fished out, it is necessary to protect the remaining spawning aggregations by closing these sites to fishing. A fishery closure would reduce income to some fishers, but a simple economic analysis of the fishery, and of an ecotourism alternative, shows that groupers are worth approximately 20 times more alive than when fished.

    Item Type: Peer-reviewed Journal Article
    Related URLs:
      Publisher: Unspecified Publisher
      Keywords: Belize fishing grouper
      Subjects: (A) Biodiversity > (AC) Fish > (ACB) Marine
      (F) People and the Environment > (FB) Resource Use
      (I) Socio-Economic Information > (IB) Economic Valuation
      Publication Sources: (3) Other Source > (3D) Other or Unspecified
      Date Deposited: 15 Nov 2010 06:00
      Last Modified: 13 Dec 2011 10:20
      URI: http://eprints.uberibz.org/id/eprint/914

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