In new law, Cuba takes official aim at overfishing


Cuban and U.S. scientists during a 2015 research expedition in Cuba’s Gardens of the Queen (Jardines de la Reina) National Marine Park. (Photo courtesy of EDF)

Cuba has passed a new law that for the first time places preservation of the island’s fish populations at the center of fishing policy, reflecting concerns about overexploitation of the country’s rich marine ecosystems. Fishing is a vital source of Cuba’s export income and food for islanders, but fish stocks have plummeted in the past 30 years as state fleets have pushed for higher productivity and the number of independent fishers has grown. The catch of crustaceans in Cuban waters fell 70% from 1989 to 2014, while landings of fish and mollusks fell 52%, according to a study by Julio Baisre, a Cuban marine scientist. The study, published last year in the University of Miami’s Bulletin of Marine Science, found the total catch averaged 22,000 tons during 2010-14, or about 65% lower than its mid-1980s peak. The new law marks “the first time Cuban law and lawmakers have officially... [Log in to read more]

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