Department of Marine affairs and Fisheries
TLF Building, Scarborough
The oceanic pelagic fishery has historically been the most important commercial fishery of national importance in Trinidad and Tobago. The flyingfish fishery accounts for about 70 - 90 % of the total weight of pelagic landings at beaches on the leeward side of Tobago (Pandohee, 1996). Fishing effort is seasonal from November of one year to July of the next year. The flyingfish fleet consisted of about 75 pirogues and one iceboat between 1988 - 1991. It employed approximately 125 fishermen. Fishing practices involved the use gillnets, small dipnets and the occasional hook-and-line method. The latter was used to obtain fresh bait needed in the capture of larger pelagics.
The objectives of the present exercise were:
to estimate the status of the flyingfish fishery in Tobago, including Current total landings and total effort;
to examine monthly, seasonal, spatial and annual trends;
to standardize assessments among countries sharing the flyingfish resource; and
to recommendations for a five-year management plan
The data used included data from observed and recorded landings taken by two data collectors only on official working days. The effort data used was derived from the observed and recorded trips taken by the said two data collectors on official working days. CPUE was calculated from the data recorded by the collectors.
The SPSS Statistical package was utilized in the creation of plots re:
frequency tables and cross-tabulations to show number of sampling records by landing site, vessel type, gear. Year * month, year * landing site, year * vessel type and year * gear.
INTERPRETATION OF THE ASSESSMENT/ANALYSIS
The results of the analyses showed a general increase in the mean CPUE through time. Although there was evidence of some fluctuation between seasons, the general trend towards an increased CPUE appeared to have coincided with the introduction of ice-boats to the Tobago fleet. It also appears that the observed dips in the CPUE may have been caused by changes in marketing arrangements and facilities during the mid-nineties.
i) The present level of coverage and data collection - practices need significant improvements.
ii) It is also recommended that special attention should be given to differentiation of vessel types in the fishery.
Mean observed effort by year - Tobago
Total recorded landings (summed)
Total recorded effort (summed) - Tobago