This paper presents an analysis of trends in Cuban marine fishery resources covering the period of development as well as the period of greatest expansion of national marine fisheries. It is based on the national landing statistics by species or species groups. The fisheries statistical data from 1959 to 1980 were analysed for the first time by Baisre (1981). In another paper (FAO, 1993), the analysis was carried further back to cover the 1935 to 1959 period. With the information obtained from the official landing statistics of the Ministry of Fishing Industry (MFI, 1979 and 1981), the Ministry of Economy and Planning and the Cuban Statistical Yearbook (Government of Cuba, 1953), an extended time series has been devised for the most important species or species groups in Cuban fisheries, covering the last 60 years. This time series includes landings of edible fishes, crustaceans and molluscs. The by-catches of shrimp fisheries and the landings of sponges were not considered here because they are not used for human consumption. The landings of marine turtles were also not included in this analysis because their fishing has been prohibited for the last ten years. In total, the landings of 21 species or groups of species have been analysed, representing 63.5 percent of all Cuban landings and 79.5 percent of the landings used for human consumption.
This analysis follows the ideas and methodologies developed by Grainger and Garcia (FAO, 1996), in particular those regarding assessment of trends and evaluation of the fisheries potential of world marine resources. The Cuban resources have been grouped according to the pattern of their landings and in relation to the different phases of fishery development as described in a generalized fishery model (FAO, 1984). The fisheries potential was then estimated on the basis of the relative rate of growth in landings. In addition to the works already mentioned, an extended data set such as the one examined here and despite the biases that undoubtedly exist in national statistics, was also found to contain coherent and useful information on Cuban fisheries, which can assist not only in the appraisal of fishery potential but also in the planning and management of fisheries.