Art and areas of fishing in Los Roques.
Up until 1972 fishing activity was done entirely free without any restrictions all over the archipelago. That year the national park was created and areas established where this activity is banned such as the Zona de Proteccion Integral and zona de Interes Cientifico. These sections of the park represent true areas of reproduction, recruitment and refuge for many species, while the rest of the archipelago is open to fishing. The art of fishing traditionally used in the archipelago are the traps and free diving (for the catching of lobster and Botuto) the several types of nets used and the art of the fishing line and the fish hook. As already mentioned the use of nets has been banned as of 1994.The traps are used for catching lobster and an important accompanying fauna made up by fish which are destined for local consumption and in lower numbers sold fresh or salted. The trap is a box made up with wire and wood and has a hexagonal shape, they are connected to ropes and thrown to the sea in groups of two or more. They are located in those bottom areas where the lobster supposedly approaches in search of food (for example along sand strips between coralline formations or over prairies of marine herbs).
The practice of free diving is legal today only for catching lobster. This is one of the most popular fishing tactics in the archipelago and quite preferred by the younger fishermen, since it has a lower operating cost and a high economic yield. It only needs a diving mask, a pair of fins and a fairly good physical condition.
Diving for lobster is done in reef areas. To capture it, an aluminum rod is used with a piece of fine wire and a sliding knot at one end called bond. The lobster's tail usually gets introduced into the bond and when it tries to escape it remains firmly tied and then brought out of its refuge...>>
The use of the fishing hook begins at the end of the lobster season and is also used for the catching of other fish such as Pargo, Mero and Mullet. The fishing line is made up of a main line of about 150 to 1000 meters long and some 100 to 700 secondary lines that pent from it. Each one of these lines ends up in a fishhook whose size and bait depend on the species to be caught. At the end of the fishing line at intervals of 50 to 100 fishhooks, there is a weight and a buoy which act as an anchor and reference point to make its location easier. Depending on the species, the fishing line is placed at the bottom or allowed to float, thus allow fishing during the day or night. A smaller hand line is used near the coast for small fish and as a complementary activity.
In the archipelago there three types of boats. The most common is the Penero of wood or glass fiber measuring 7 to 9 meters; Tres Punos: 9 to 12 meters commonly used for fishing with Traps, and the Lancha: a 13 to 18 meters boat, not used for fishing but for the transport and trading of live lobster and fish. At present there are 163 registered boats, 34% more than recorded in 1978 and 8% more boats than in 1987. Generally the owner of the boat is engaged in the fishing activity.
Some boats do not register their catch at the fisheries office at Gran Roque because they either operate occasionally or because they are dedicated to tourist activities.