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DPLUS153: Conserving tropical marine ecosystems in TCI through science-based fisheries management

Background

Tropical marine ecosystems provide important goods and services to a vast collective of diverse stakeholders. Chiefly among these is the provision of food and livelihoods via fishing. However, the balance between maintaining sustainable tropical marine ecosystems and Small-Scale Fisheries (SSF) is delicate and needs to be actively monitored. Additionally, overfishing and the overexploitation of marine resources can threaten the livelihoods and food security of local communities. In order to promote sustainable SSF practices, data are required to inform robust evidence-based management. In the Turks and Caicos Islands (TCI), insufficient fish landings and life history data is available to conduct basic assessments. Thus, local capacity for fisheries research and management presents an important gap.
Through direct collaboration with local stakeholders and fishers, the project aims to address this via the improvement of local fisheries-related catch, effort and biological data in the TCI. The project also aims to develop local capacity to facilitate long-term science-driven fishery assessments regionally, through the provision of a state-of-the-art fisheries laboratory. Lastly, the project will work closely with local government to ensure that the fisheries research tools which are provided can be appropriately translated into management directives.

Project Objectives & Scope of Work

Left: The view from the South Caicos Beach Resort at Sunset
Right: Dr Ed Butler removes the Otoliths from a freshly caught hogfish (Lachnolaimus maximus)

In collaboration with local fishers, the TCI Government Department of Coastal Resources (DECR) and Department of Fisheries & Marine Resource Management (FMRM), the project will:

  1. Build fishers’ capacity for participation in fisheries management
  2. Centralise landing sites
  3. Train DECR staff in landing and biological data collection and management
  4. Provide equipment for a state-of-the-art fisheries laboratory and
  5. Conduct fishery assessments using data collected in collaboration with the DECR and FMRM.

Project Funding

The project is funded by the Darwin Initiative through the UK Government (DPlus 153).

Project Partners