Alternate Title

Fishery Management Measures Instituted at Discovery Bay, Jamaica, with Special Reference to Establishment of the Fisheries Reserve

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Jamaican north coast coral reef fish stocks have been over-exploited. The Fisheries Improvement Programme (FIP) began in 1988 to help fishers at Discovery Bay to introduce management measures. Social and cultural constraints included poverty and distrust among fishers. FIP initiated: 1) an education programme in reef fisheries and the possibilities of local management; 2) encouragement of a Discovery Bay Fishermens’ Association; in 1994, Association members agreed on a voluntary protected area within Discovery Bay; 3) a Reserve Planning Group, representing all users of the bay; 4) contract with Fishermens’ Association: grant funds were transferred to it to employ rangers; 5) marking and daily patrols within the Reserve starting in 1996; and 6) legalization of the Reserve, which was not obtained. Within two years of Reserve protection, fishers perceived an increase in fish abundance and asked that the protected area be extended. Studies on fish populations in 1996-98, showed that the Reserve delayed age and size at recruitment to the fisheries and enhanced catches in adjacent waters. The failure to gain legal status and lack of funds to maintain patrols after 1999, led to decline in compliance with the voluntary restrictions on fishing. Lessons are discussed.

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