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Common Oceans - A partnership for sustainability in the ABNJ

Addressing the need to reverse the trend of declining stocks of billfish species in the Western Central Atlantic Ocean

The Caribbean Billfish Management and Conservation Plan - a key output of the Caribbean Billfish Project

13 March 2019

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The implementation of more specific and effective fisheries management measures is required to secure the sustainability of stocks of billfish species throughout the Atlantic. Although serious gaps persist in billfish catch and biological data, it is clear that reductions in billfish fishing mortalities are required to rebuild these valuable stocks, after decades of overfishing have reduced the stocks to alarming levels. The Caribbean Billfish Management and Conservation Plan was prepared to reverse the trend of declining stocks of billfish species within the Western Central Atlantic Ocean and its adjacent seas, through holistically addressing unsustainable fishing practices.

Members of the Western Central Atlantic Fishery Commission (WECAFC), Caribbean Regional Fisheries Mechanism, Central America Organization for Fishery and Aquaculture and the Caribbean Fisheries Management Council are concerned about declining billfish stocks. Therefore, they developed together, through the WECAFC Recreational Fisheries Working Group, and in close collaboration with all key stakeholders in the Consortium on Billfish Management and Conservation this plan in the period 2015-2018. Recognizing the mandate of the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT) over the billfish stocks, the plan supports regional implementation of ICCAT recommendations.

The plans objective is to outline and guide the implementation of a suite of billfish management measures over a five-year period to help secure the potential future benefits that can accrue from billfish stocks in the Caribbean. The overarching goal is to improve the management and conservation of billfish stocks. Specific objectives of the plan include:

  1. Improve billfish catch, effort, biological and socio-economic data collection and reporting programs from all fisheries that capture these shared stocks;
  2. Reduce bycatch, discards and overall fishing mortality of billfishes in order to achieve sustainable harvest levels throughout the region;
  3. Increase coordination and collaboration between nations through a regional governance framework better suited to effectively address the Caribbean region's billfish management and conservation issues;
  4. Institute the monitoring, control and surveillance of the billfish fishing effort across all fisheries through regionally harmonized mechanisms to effectively contribute to combat illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing operations in the Caribbean region;
  5. Enhance the sustainable socio-economic performance of fisheries capturing billfishes in the WECAFC area.

The Plan was developed with support of the Caribbean Billfish Project in the period 2015-2018, and its participatory preparation was largely financed by the World Bank implemented, Common Oceans ABNJ Ocean Partnerships Project that is funded by the Global Environment Facility.

Access and download the document here: http://www.fao.org/3/CA3366EN/ca3366en.pdf


For more information on this Plan please contact any of the main authors or the WECAFC Secretariat


GEF Common Oceans World Bank WECAFC