Occupation in Los Roques and the development of fishing as an economic activity.
Fishing activity was first carried out by aboriginals as early as the X century. This situation continued well into the XVI century although probably at lower levels.
Between the XVII and XIX centuries Los Roques was occupied by foreign inhabitants. The presence of people from the Dutch Antilles was significant (Aruba, Bonaire and Curacao) who were really more interested in the exploitation of mangrove ( for the production of coal ), limestone, guano and salt than fishing. It is not until the early XX century that the region began to be considered as an important fishing center.
The first shanties were made by fishermen in Gran Roque who came from Margarita island and by 1923 managed to consolidate a town in this region. The diversity, abundance and availability of fishing resources in the archipelago gave way to the growth of the population of Gran Roque. By 1950 when boats with Outboards were first introduced as well as deep freezers the population of Gran Roque reached 409 persons. At that time the population was divided among Roquenos and Margaritenos. The first came as settlers and the latter to develop the fishing potential of the archipelago.
Up until then, the environment of the archipelago was typical of a fishing community, with its humble houses, the relevance of fishing and the come and go of men women and children. From there on the tourist industry began to thrive and many of these homes turned into Posadas or guest houses, the fishing sector has slowed down (due to the existence of other economic alternatives) and the streets have come to be full of visitors whose faces change every day: the tourist.
By the year 2000 the population of the archipelago had reached one thousand, many of them Venezuelan and foreigners linked to the administration of Posadas (small hotels) and the rendering of several tourist services.
Fishing in Los Roques: A way of life.
The fishing that takes place in Los Roques is very similar to the one done in the mainland and in other islands in the country. This activity is basically controlled by environmental conditions and where physical strength is used to operate traditional fishing. This activity is done either individually or in groups thus showing full knowledge of the species to be captured. The profit is shared according to the degree of participation of each fisherman. There is no doubt that the process and carrying out of this activity today is the result of the union of Indigenous and Spanish fishing practices adapted to the species and local conditions. The current chapter aims at giving a full summary of the fishing activities done in the archipelago.