Sary, Z.; Oxenford, Hazel A.; Woodley, Jeremy D.
Author Affiliation, Ana.
Centre for Marine Sciences
Effects of an increase in trap mesh size on an overexploited coral reef fishery at Discovery Bay, Jamaica
Marine Ecology Progress Series
Date of Publication
Documents a study of the short -term and long-term effects of partly replacing small mesh with a larger mesh size in an artisanal coral reef fishery. A community level mesh exchange program was initiated in the Discovery Bay trap fishery in March 1991, whereby active fishers were given large mesh (1.5 inch: 3.8 cm.) wire to construct traps in exchange for handing in their small mesh (1 inch: 2.5 cm and 1.25 inch: 3.2 cm) traps. Although the total number of active traps and the total number of hauls per month did not significantly change in the fishery, the proportion of small mesh traps decreased substantially as a result of the mesh exchange program, leading to a concurrent reduction of fishing mortality in smaller sized fish. Changes in the fish populations were examined by comparing catch-per-unit-effort (CPUE as number of fish per trap per haul, and kg per trap per haul); mean size of individual fish; catch composition; and length frequency distributions for the 2 most common species, for both 1.25 inch and 1.5 inch traps in 3 separate 6 months periods (July to December) in 1990 (10 months before the implementation of the mesh exchange program), 1991 (immediately after the implementation of the mesh exchange program) and 1994 (3 yrs after the implementation of the mesh exchange program). Results of the study are discussed.....