Date of Award

1989

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts in Marine Affairs

Abstract

During the 1983 season, two U.S. longline vessels initiated the first attempts at the commercial exploitation of swordfish in the Eastern Caribbean. In 1986, the number of U.S. vessels participating in the fishery surpassed 40 with landings of nearly two million pounds per season. The sudden influx of participants and technology to the region has resulted in a variety of user conflicts and associated policy issues. Major areas of concern involve the conservation of a heavily exploited resource and the distribution of benefits which accrue from resource exploitation among the resource-adjacent island states and U.S. fishing operations. This study examines principles of fisheries management, the international legal framework for highly migratory species, and regional responses to highly migratory species management. These experiences are the applied to the Eastern Caribbean situation. Management alternatives which are discussed for the Eastern Caribbean include: regional management; fees and conditions of foreign vessel access; compliance and enforcement; local development; and related issues such as stock conservation, recreational species and by-catch landings. The study indicates that government fisheries treaties may involved issues far removed from fisheries such as strategic interests of the super powers. The island nations of the Eastern Caribbean have the right to the benefits associated with the fisheries resources which occur in their zones of ocean jurisdiction. However, the realization of this goal will depend on regional cooperation, the wise use of scarce resources and long-term commitment.