Art Howard

Caribb - In U.S. Caribbean, New Fishery Plan Would Help Marine Life—and People

Comprehensive ecosystem approach is intended to address threats to fish and corals

Stakeholders in the U.S. Caribbean agree that changing ocean conditions and poor water quality put fish and corals at risk, posing threats to businesses, tourism, and the ecosystem.

Those concerns are a common theme in ongoing workshops, sponsored by the Caribbean Fishery Management Council, that are designed to involve fishers, coastal businesses, conservation organizations, scientists, and others in guiding fishery policy and rules.

As part of that effort, the council is developing a big-picture plan for managing fish and fishing. Known as a fishery ecosystem plan, the guide will build on other actions the council has taken in recent years to tailor fishing rules to each island group (Puerto Rico, St. Thomas/St. John, St. Croix) and adopt a fishery management approach that considers ecological, economic, social, and other factors.  

So far during the workshops, which will conclude this summer, about 300 stakeholders have highlighted natural assets—such as corals and mangroves—that they felt were the most valuable and identified factors that can affect those resources, such as pollution or hurricanes.

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