Most of us on Barbuda – men, women and children – go fishing at some time, either as a full-time occupation, part-time for food, or for fun at holiday weekends. Traditionally much fishing is still done using labour intensive fish pots, which are made from locally-gathered wattle sticks and wire, or by trammel net. Increasingly spear guns are now used. Lobster is often caught by diving with a wire lassoo and is one of our main exports, mainly to the French Caribbean islands. Other fish are sold locally straight from the boat or sent to Antigua. We are lucky to have many tasty and edible varieties including very large barracuda, big sharks, grunt, old wife, hind, grouper and snapper.

The research done since 2012 by Barbudans with Waitt Institute Blue Halo indicates that chub/parrot fish and some other species are in severe decline. Those wishing to fish should note that since the Blue Halo initiative began, Barbuda Council has implimented the strictly observed no-fishing zones shown below. This includes the Lagoon and some of the coastline. In addition lobster and conchs and other species may not be caught or sold at certain times.

In Barbuda anyone who does not observe the no-fishing zones or adhere to regulations regarding the size of conchs and lobster, or fails to buy a local licence to fish, will be liable for prosecution. So refuse to buy under-sized or out of season seafood – especially parrot fish/chub – if you are offered them for sale.

Although this project raised issues with fishers who felt the project may ignore traditionally established laws and practices, such as women and children without boats using nets in the lagoon, there are now more serious problems for our fisheries such as other Caribbean nationals coming to Barbuda to fish in our waters with impunity, stealing from pots or destroying reefs with bleach and explosives, and of course the hugely destructive international fishing industry.

Search Jickys Latest News for previous updates on the launch and news of the consultation process from the beginning. The Waitt Institute have remained committed to working with Barbudans since Hurricane Irma and taken on many other difficult and pressing issues to support us since this time, with their Recovery and Conservation Trust.

Key Fisheries Regulations

  1. A permit is required to fish in the coastal waters around Barbuda (within 5.55 km of shore).
  2. All catch or possession of parrotfish and sea urchins is prohibited.
  3. Catch of sharks is limited to traditional use. No export or finning.
  4. All fishing on any fish spawning aggregations is prohibited.
  5. All lobster and fish traps must include escape gaps to reduce bycatch.
  6. Use of nets is prohibited within 20 meters of reefs.
  7. Permits are required for placing artificial reefs, and prohibit fishing on these reefs.
  8. Fishing in Codrington Lagoon is prohibited except for line fishing from shore.
  9. Permits must be obtained prior to any mangrove or seagrass damage.
  10. A Coastal Management Advisory Committee and Parks Authority are established.

Further details of the project and its various policies and legislation can be found here.

March 2014 Blue Halo zones sml
Blue Halo Barbuda
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