Scientists at the University of Exeter are working to develop a sustainable fishing plan for the Caribbean spiny lobster.
The two-year project will first aim to establish a data baseline about lobster connectivity and genetics using a “genetic tool.” After that, they’ll go on to develop a plan to improve the management and conservation of the species in and around the Bahamas in association with government stakeholders.
Commenting on the project and plan, the University of Exeter’s Dr. Robert Ellis stated:
“The Caribbean spiny lobster fishery is economically and ecologically important, but 36% of all lobsters caught at present are unregulated. From studying other spiny lobster species globally, we know that when they are over-fished their numbers crash, having dramatic effects on the ecosystems they are part of. We will develop a new genetic tool based on population structure data for Caribbean spiny lobster and its connectivity across the region, contributing to the critical sustainable management of wild stocks and stock enhancement programs. These innovations will create a multi-disciplinary and participatory approach to enhancing the sustainable exploitation of this fishery, using The Bahamas as a model of best practice.”
While Dr. Nick Higgs, from the Eleuthera Institute at The Island School in The Bahamas, added:
“In The Bahamas we produce about 2,400 tonnes of spiny lobster annually but this is entirely based on wild-caught fisheries. This project will not only help sustainably manage that fishery but will help lay the groundwork for a novel aquaculture approach to growing this sector.”