Caribbean Billfish Project Year Two

The IGFA is gearing up for year two of the Caribbean Billfish Project (CBP) where two pilot studies will take place in Grenada and Dominican Republic. Two other proposals from IGFA within this project are also currently under review.

Pilot Projects:

  • Discussions with various national government representatives and stakeholders from recreational and diverse commercial fishery sectors are occuring to identify opportunities through which pilot project actions can most effectively improve the sustainability of billfish stocks in the Caribbean. Last week, the Caribbean Billfish Project Coordinator's visit to Grenada purposefully overlapped with the Spice Island Billfish Tournament to ensure that recreational anglers’ perspectives were incorporated within national meeting discussions. Stakeholder engagement is recognized as vital while pilot project concepts are developed and officially tested throughout 2017. The successes and lesson from the implementations of the studies will guide development of business case(s) seeking to expand sustainable billfish fishery practices on a regional scale.

 

  • Between February and April of 2017, a study will be conducted by an IGFA consultant in Grenada and Dominican Republic using Fisheries Performance Indicators (FPIs). Recreational and Commercial FPIs are a rapid assessment tools that gather data on multiple fishery input and output dimensions related to infrastructure, governance and fishery conditions. The tool is designed to give private or NGO investors the tools to target investments that best meet the goals of the development project. While the recreational FPIs are a recently tested tool, the commercial FPIs have been conducted in nearly 100 fisheries across the globe. 

 

Potential Studies:

  • IGFA and researchers from the University of Miami have applied for funding from Conservation International (CI) to execute a satellite tagging project set to deploy 87 tags on marlin in the WECAFC area of competence. Although billfish are highly migratory species that, depending on the time of year, may be encountered throughout the WECAFC area of competence, they are not uniformly distributed in this area throughout space and time. Obtaining better resolution pertaining to vertical and horizontal habitat use by billfish in this area is fundamental to the success of the CBP in that we cannot hope to achieve better management and data collection on these species until we have a better idea of where these fish go and how long they reside in specific areas. A well-designed tagging project that provides insight into billfish migration and fidelity patterns is vital to ensuring success of the CBP, and it also has added value for guiding management measures at the ICCAT level. This proposal is currently under review by CI.

 

  • IGFA consultant Brad Gentner of Gentner Consulting Group (GCG) has also submitted a proposal to CI. This proposal is to develop a non-market valuation survey to look directly at the willingness to pay of tourist and local recreational billfish anglers in the Caribbean basin. The survey will be developed to focus on angler characteristics, determinants of demand and willingness to pay for billfish trips and the willingness to pay for increases in angling quality. This will thus define the potential extra value that improving billfish stocks in support of recreational fisheries could represent. The survey will also focus on defining potential payment vehicles that could allow the most effective flow and use of finances to support sustainable billfish fishing practices across fishery sectors.