Socio-economic profile of the small-scale dive fishery in the commonwealth of Puerto Rico

Juan J. Agar, Manoj Shivlani

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations

Abstract

This study provides the first comprehensive socio-economic profile of the small-scale dive fishery which is the most valuable commercial fishery in the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico. The study revealed that the fishery is composed of small-scale commodity producers who use labor intensive, low technology capital to catch high valued species such as queen conch, Strombus gigas; spiny lobster, Panulirus argus; various reef-fish (Labridae, Scaridae, Lutjanidae), and octopus (Octopodidae). The average dive operation had a 20 ft, 76 hp fishing boat with 2-3 crew members. Diving operations fished 5 times a week for about 7 h. After deducting nonlabor running costs, dive operations netted about $170 per trip. Fuel expenses ac counted for about 61% of the nonlabor variable costs. Most of the crew members were non-kin because of the hazardous nature of diving which favors recruitment decisions based on skill and compatibility rather than kinship relationships. However, fishermen reported that diving accidents were not rare occurrences. Economic pressures and operational carelessness (rather than ignorance about diving risks) were cited as the main factors behind the accidents. Fishermen exhibited a high degree of occupational fidelity. Income sharing arrangements between boat owners and crew were found to be fairly egalitarian. The article underscores the need to explicitly consider safety at sea concerns when assessing the impact of management proposals.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)12-21
Number of pages10
JournalMarine Fisheries Review
Volume78
Issue number3-4
DOIs
StatePublished - 2016

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Aquatic Science
  • Agronomy and Crop Science

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