The future of fishing in Los Roques.
Los Roques national park was created with the preservation of natural and scenic beauty of the region in mind, without alienating the rights of population settled in the islands at that time. However those rights are to be developed within the frame of legally permitted use.
To harmonize the figure of national park with the dynamics of fishing activity has been no easy task: Strategies adopted for the protection of marine resources have outnumbered those aimed at stimulating fishing activity. Alternative economic activity such as tourism has come about, unfortunately the local fisherman has not been trained to take advantage of them and today he has been relegated to the providing of a few services.
Nevertheless, opportunities and perspectives for the development of fishing activity in the archipelago are still good. There are profitable options for those who were affected by the ban placed on the fishing of Botuto or on the use of nets. On one hand lobster the main resource is at a stable level of exploitation and its growth is moderate. On the other, fish can be very productive since there are regions which have not been fully taken advantage of ( for example the hard bottom beyond 100 meters deep ). There is also an increase in sport fishing based on the practice of catching and then setting free. This activity allows the fisherman to understand that a fish in the sea can be sold several times not so when its final destination is a table.
Los Roques can still be considered a paradise when it comes to fishing resources, not only for Venezuela but for the rest of the Caribbean as well. Keeping it this way should be our challenge and pride.
Some of the species in the archipelago have been studied through evaluations that cover interesting aspects of their biology, economy and fishing, basically by research done under the sponsorship of Fundacion Cientifica Los Roques. This information has an invaluable scientific interest and in some cases has helped guarantee the preservation of resources (Botuto for example) or to design and update handling plans (for example Lobster).
Lobster is the only resource formally handled in the archipelago. The program includes a season of forbidden fishing activity of up to 6 months (from May 1st to October 31st), the granting of a special permit with yearly renewals, a minimum size of catch (12 centimeters, or 1 kilo) and the ban on the trading of pregnant females.
The ban on the use of nets aimed at the indiscriminate catching of fish, the destruction of reefs by the dragging of nets and the hunting of turtles.