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Part I Statistics and main indicators

  1. Country brief
  2. General geographic and economic indicators
  3. FAO Fisheries statistics

The Profile (2006)

    Additional information

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    2. Publications
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    Part I Statistics and main indicators

    Part I of the Fishery and Aquaculture Country Profile is compiled using the most up-to-date information available from the FAO Country briefs and Statistics programmes at the time of publication. The Country Brief and the FAO Fisheries Statistics provided in Part I may, however, have been prepared at different times, which would explain any inconsistencies.

    Country briefUpdated 12-2016

    Saint Kitts and Nevis are two Caribbean islands located in the Caribbean Sea with a total area of 261 km2 and a coastline of 135 km. These volcanic islands are separated by The Narrows, a 3 km wide channel. They claim a territorial sea of 12 nautical miles and have an Exclusive Economic Zone of 200 nautical miles.

    The two islands supported a population of approximately 54 000 in 2013. The main source of income is tourism. . Saint Kitts has five major landing sites and Nevis one large and four minor landing sites and there is one fish processing factory on each island. There are no commercial inland fisheries and aquaculture has not yet been developed commercially, except a small number of tilapia growing in backyard ponds and hydroponic tanks on non-commercial basis.

    Fisheries management is done jointly by the fisheries agencies on each island. The main objectives is to rebuild the dwindling stocks of queen conch, lobster and reef fishes through identification of target and limit reference points for each species, promoting co-management and imposing a number of fishery regulations such as minimum sizes, gear types, and closed seasons.

    The Fisheries sector contributed in 2014 with 0, 5% of St Kitts and Nevis’ GDP. In 2014, Fisheries were estimated to employ about 805 people in the primary sector, with a total volume of production of about 66 thousand tonnes in 2014, from which 714 tonnes are the resulting from the small-scale fisheries in national waters.

    There is a large distinction between the two major categories of fishing fleets in the country: (1) the small-scale subsistence and commercial fisheries on the reefs, slopes, and coastal ocean areas, and (2) the high seas fleet.

    The small-scale and coastal fisheries are undertaken within the national EEZ by small pirogues locally constructed usually made with wood and fiberglass. These can be decked or undecked, and are usually between 6 to 12 meters (m) in length and powered by outboard engines. And the high seas fleet composed by fish transport/transhipments vessels registered at the Registrar of Shipping of St. Kitts and Nevis; vessels which are foreign owned, operated and crewed, but flagged by St Kitts and Nevis. These vessel don‘t operate within St Kitts EEZ or land/tranship in St Kitts and Nevis ports. Instead their activity is undergone mostly in the Atlantic Eastern Central. In 2014 the total number of active fishing vessels was of 260.

    Capture production in national Waters reported to FAO in 2014 amounted to about 714 tonnes of which 447 tonnes (63 per cent) were attributable to queen conch (calculated in live weight), a species for which international trade is regulated by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). The conch is harvested by divers. Fish species associated with reefs are also commonly caught, as well as pelagic species such as needlefishes, dolphinfish, flyingfishes and tunas.

    Over 80 per cent of the registered 260 vessels and more than 75 per cent of the registered fishers are involved in the demersal reef fishery which utilizes traps, hand lines and spear guns. 802 people were reported as engaged in fishing and 3 in aquaculture in 2015. 24 women were engaged in the marine costal fishing sector. There also exists a small coastal pelagic fishery operating in shallow waters and using seines and occasionally gillnets, although this fishery accounts for a substantive portion of the catches (about 40 percent) of reef fishes and small pelagics. Saint Kitts and Nevis has a small and highly seasonally operating ocean pelagic fishery utilizing the same vessels as for the reef fisheries and trolling lines to catch dolphinfish, tuna and mackerels.

    In 2014, the estimated exports of fish and fishery products were valued at USD 0.4 million, while imports were worth USD 3.8 million. Exports mainly consisted of queen conch while all other fish and fishery products were consumed locally and were of significant importance for local food security. Estimated per capita consumption amounted to about 32.3 kg in 2013.

    Saint Kitts and Nevis are subject to hurricanes from July to October. They are vulnerable to damage from natural disasters, especially extreme weather episodes caused by global climate change. This can have grave impacts on tourism infrastructure and natural resources, thus reducing local demand for fisheries production by the tourism industry.

    Important and valuable fishery resources of the Islands, in particular queen conch, Caribbean spiny lobster and reef fishes, require rebuilding through effective management measures.

    The listing of queen conch by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) has imposed the requirement of issuing a certificate of “Non-Detriment Finding” (NDF) for the export of this species.

    The country is signatory to the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea and has ratified the 1993 FAO Compliance Agreement. The country has not yet ratified the 1995 UN Fish Stocks Agreement and 2009 FAO Port State Measures Agreement. Saint Kitts and Nevis is a member of the CARICOM Caribbean Regional Fisheries Mechanism (CRFM).
    General geographic and economic indicators

    Table 1 - General Geographic and Economic Data - Saint Kitts and Nevis

    Shelf area 855 km2

    Sea Around Us


    Length of continental coastline 135 km

    World by Map:


    Fisheries GVA (2011) 0,5% of National GDP

    Caribbean Regional Fisheries Mechanism (CRFM): Statistics and Information Report 2012

    Key statistics

    Country area260km2FAOSTAT. Official data, 2013
    Land area260km2FAOSTAT. Official data, 2013
    Inland water area0km2Computed. Calculated, 2013
    Population - Est. & Proj.0.057millionsFAOSTAT. Official data, 2018
    Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) area9 533km2VLIZ

    Source: FAO Country Profile

    FAO Fisheries statisticsTable 2 in this section is based on statistics prepared by the Statistics and Information Branch of the Fisheries and Aquaculture Department and disseminated in 2016. The charts are based on the same source but these are automatically updated every year with the most recent disseminated statistics.

    Table 2 – Fisheries statistics – Saint Kitts and Nevis

          1980 1990 2000 2010 2012 2013 2014
    EMPLOYMENT (thousands) 0.65 0.34 0.62 0.72 0.76 0.78
      Capture 0.65 0.34 0.62 0.72 0.76 0.78
        Marine 0.65 0.34 0.62 0.72 0.76 0.78
    FLEET(thousands vessels) 0.25 0.37 0.00 0.42 0.36 0.24 0.26
    Source: FAO Fishery and Aquaculture Statistics
    1) Due to roundings total may not sum up

    Please note: Fishery statistical data here presented exclude the production for marine mammals, crocodiles, corals, sponges, pearls, mother-of-pearl and aquatic plants.


    Updated 2006The Profile

    This country profile provides statistics and indicators produced through FAO’s Statistics programmes, supplemented with information derived from national and other sources and valid at the time of compilation.

    Full text of the Fisheries and Aquaculture Country Profile available at /fishery/docs/DOCUMENT/fcp/en/FI_CP_KN.pdf

    Additional information

    Meetings & News archive


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