Title: Harvesting of Flyingfish in the Eastern Caribbean: A Bioeconomic Perspective

Author(s): Maren Dee Headley
Final project
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flying fish; Eastern Caribbean; dolphin fish; bio-economic model;


Important commercial fisheries such as large oceanic highly migratory species (e.g. yellowfin tuna, swordfish), more regional large pelagics (e.g. wahoo, dolphinfish), and small pelagics (e.g. flyingfish) all occur within the eastern Caribbean. Numerous fleet types are used; therefore these fisheries can be described as multi-species and multi-gear in nature since gillnets, trolled or stationary hook and line gears or both are used to fish both small and large pelagics during the same trip. Flyingfish and dolphinfish are two species that are usually targeted together. The goal of this project is to develop a bioeconomic model based on the predator-prey relationships among flyingfish, dolphinfish and other commercial fish species in the eastern Caribbean. Flyingfish has a low ex-vessel price compared to the predator species. The model is applied to the management question of whether direct harvest of flyingfish or indirect harvest through converted predator biomass is more profitable. The benefits obtained from direct harvest of flyingfish are $1.7 million US. Harvest of the increased predator biomass associated with reduced flyingfish harvest results in benefits of $474 thousand US. The net benefits represent a loss of $1.3 million US (76%) of what is obtained by direct harvest of flyingfish. The conclusion is clear; direct harvest of flyingfish is the better management strategy. 

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