Ministry's Menu

Home Our Knowledge Centre Articles Overview of Barbadian Fisheries.
Overview of Barbadian Fisheries. PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, 25 May 2010 12:08

Overview of Barbadian Fisheries to be managed.

Fishery-specific management plans are set out in the "Fisheries Management Plan". An overview of these fisheries is given below.


Shallow Shelf Reef Fishes e.g. parrotfishes, grunts and surgeonfishes. 


Economic importance  - Economic links to tourism are perhaps as important as dollar value of food fishery.
Vessel type - Mainly small, open, outboard-powered boats (moses) are used.
Fishing gear and methods - Fishing is most intense during the period July - October when pelagics are scarce, but reef fishes are captured year round  at some sites. These species are mainly fished using traps of various shapes. The traps are often baited with macerated fish or black sea urchins (Diadema antillarum) and hauled every 2 to 3 days. Reef fishes are also taken by handlines fished at various depths down to about 50m. 
Landing sites - Rough seas limit reef fishing activity along the east coast at most times.
Employment - Important to part-time fishers year-round and full-time fishers upon conclusion of flyingfish season.


Deep Slope and Bank Reef Fishes e.g. snappers and groupers   


Economic importance - Unknown.  Preliminary assessment of fishery show potential for increased investment in harvest.
Vessel type - Dayboats (fishing launches) are used.
Fishing gear and methods - Mainly fished by handlines which target queen snapper and vermilion snapper.  Traps target silk snapper and some vermilion snapper. Most of the catch is taken from July to October when the availability of large pelagics declines. Each vessel may have a crew of several fishers each tending a line.
Landing sites - Snapper fishing is done around the island with large catches often landed at the Oistins fish market.
Employment - Most significant during the period when pelagics are scarce (July - October)


Coastal Pelagics e.g. Jacks (Carangidiae), Barracuda.



Economic importance - A considerable quantity is used as bait for other fisheries although some are used as food.
Vessel type - Both moses and dayboats are used.
Fishing gear and methods - Mainly caught by three different methods: boat seines, cast nets, and trolling. Fishing in the vicinity of reefs may result in undesirably high by-catches of juvenile reef fish which are discarded.
Landing sites -Cast netting and seining takes place mainly on the south and west coasts. Trolling occurs on the same coasts along reef edges.
Employment - Not yet quantified.


Large pelagics e.g. dolphinfish, tunas and  billfishes 

Economic importance – Longlining has become the major recent harvest sector investment area in Barbados, with high capital and operating costs, and potentially high returns from export of good quality fish (grades 1 and 2).  Also, some USA flagged vessels trans-ship tunas through local fish processors. Longliners target tunas and swordfish, with by-catches mainly of billfishes (blue marlin, white marlin, sailfish) and shark. This fishery is very important to recreation and tourism through local game fishing tournaments and the small charter boat industry.
Vessel type – Longliners and iceboats
Fishing gear and methods – Most large pelagics, but mainly dolphin and wahoo, are usually harvested on the same dayboat and iceboat fishing trips, often together with flyingfish. Fishing methods include trolling and lurk-lining.  With range being proportional to size, local boats fish within national waters and on the high seas amongst international fleets.
Landing sites – Mainly at the Bridgetown Fishing Complex.  Some also landed at Oistins with small quantities at secondary landing sites on south and west coasts.  Fish for trans-shipment is of-loaded at the Bridgetown Port.
Employment – Becoming increasingly important for more skilled fishers


Flyingfishes mainly the four-winged flyingfish (Hirundichthys affinis)


Economic importance - Flyingfish account for over 50% of total landings in most years.
Vessel type  - An estimated 410 boats are in the fishery, comprising dayboats and iceboats.
Fishing gear and methods - They are captured with surface gillnets, handlines and dipnets after being lured near boats with tethered fish attracting devices (screelers) and chum.  Bait baskets are also used to attract these fish.
Landing sites - Landed at all sites except those on east coast.  Flyingfish are generally landed early in the afternoon by the dayboat fleet.  Ice boats, which can stay out on fishing grounds for up to two weeks, tend to land their catch early on mornings. 
A fishery for large pelagics (which prey on flyingfish) is carried out in conjunction with the dayboat and iceboat flyingfish fishery .  
The fishing season extends from November to July, with a major peak in  May and a minor peak in November/December.  
Of the 31 landing sites on the island, the two largest primary sites (Bridgetown and Oistins) account for over 60% of the total flyingfish  landed.

Sea urchins the sea egg (Tripneustes ventricosus)


Economic importance - Revenue from the sea urchin fishery is an important part of some fishermen’s income. Based on estimated catch rates (approximately 6 million urchins in the open season alone), an urchin fisherman can earn more than $600 BDS per week if fishing daily.
Vessel type - When vessels are used, the launch is common, but the moses is also used. The occasional ice-boat is observed. Alternatively, fishers who swim out to the sea urchin ground will often carry a floating log from which bags of harvested urchins will be suspended until returning to shore
Fishing gear and methods - Sea urchins are harvested close to shore by skin divers using mask, snorkel and fins. The sea urchins are removed from the bottom by hand  or metal scraper and are collected in a net bag.
Landing sites - Sea eggs occur all around Barbados. However, the main landing sites are located on the east and south east coasts. Oistin’s, Silver Sands, Conset, Crane,  Foul Bay, Long Bay, Martin’s Bay, Sam Lord’s, Skeete’s Bay, Tent Bay and Bath. Stroud Bay on the north-west coast is also used.
Employment - There are about 220 fishermen in this fishery.  In addition, other people crack, clean and sell sea eggs.


Turtles e.g loggerhead, hawksbill, leatherback.

Economic importance

 Barbados is party to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), requiring commercial trade in turtles and turtle products to be restricted or prohibited.  
Under the present Fisheries(Management) Regulations:  
It is illegal to possess, sell, expose for sale or purchase any turtle or part or turtle eggs.  
Fishing for or ensnaring turtles is prohibited and it is illegal to disturb or endanger any turtle nest or remove from a nest any turtle eggs.


Lobsters e.g. spiny, spotted


Economic importance - Minor fishery with potential for increased importance through links to tourism.
Vessel type - Boats may or may not be used to transport and support divers using SCUBA. Animals caught in traps are usually landed by moses, and occasionally dayboats.
Fishing gear and methods - Free or SCUBA diving using spears or gloves for capture along the east coast. By-catch in fish traps occasionally on the south coast.
Landing sites - Very variable along all coasts. Often taken directly to hotels so do not appear in public fish markets unless caught by trap.
Employment - At least 20 divers reportedly engaged in regular harvest.


Conch - mainly the Queen Conch (Strombus gigas)


Economic importance – There is a very small fishery for conch in Barbados, conchs are now mainly harvested for their shells, which are polished and sold as curios mainly to tourists. The meat is usually consumed by the harvester or sold privately and not openly at markets.
Vessel type – Moses and day-boats are mainly used if transportation by a vessel is required.
Fishing gear and methods – Conchs are harvested by skin divers using mask, snorkel and fins and by SCUBA divers. The conchs are collected by hand.
Landing sites – Conchs may occur all around Barbados. However, most are harvested from locations along the east and southeast coasts. For example, Oistins, Silver Sands, Conset Bay, Crane, Foul Bay, Long Bay, Martin’s Bay, Sam Lords, Skeete’s Bay, Tent Bay and Bath. Stroud Bay and Maycocks Bay on the northwest coast are also used.
Employment – Unknown. Although some divers target conchs, most are taken opportunistically. Both established souvenir retail stores and itinerant salesman are involved in the sale of conch shells. 




scroll to top