Lobster Houses as a Sustainable Fishing Alternative

Conrad, Katie; Danoff-Burg, James

The Caribbean Spiny Lobster (Panulirus argus) is overexploited throughout its range, primarily due to failures in fishery management. In addition to contributing to overexploitation, the primary lobster fishing methods used in the Caribbean are harmful to the environment and the health of the fishers. However, one method, lobster houses, shows particular promise for alleviating these negative effects, but only under certain environmental and socioeconomic conditions and using the recommended management practices. Lobster houses have been used for over half a century by fishing communities in Ascension Bay, Mexico; and Batábano Bay, Cuba; which are two of the most successful spiny lobster fisheries in the Caribbean. Success in these two communities has led to the implementation of lobster house projects throughout the region with varying levels of success. The objective of this study is to determine which factors contribute to the sustainability of the P. argus fishery through the examination of three lobster house case studies (Ascension Bay, Mexico; Batábano Bay, Cuba; and Miches, Dominican Republic) and the scientific literature that evaluates the sustainability of this fishery. Lobster houses can play a vital role in promoting sustainability throughout the Caribbean by simplifying management, reducing incidental environmental damage, reduce harvest rates of illegal segments of the lobster population, reducing health risks to fishers, and standardizing practices.

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Also Published In

Consilience: The Journal of Sustainable Development

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Earth Institute
Published Here
December 1, 2015