Find Fisheries expertise in Antigua and Barbuda
- Overview of the industry
- Fishery Bodies
Fisheries contribute about half of the GDP from all agricultural sectors, or about 2% of the national GDP (2008). The fishing industry employs about 1200 fishers in the primary sector, and at least 50 individuals in the secondary sector. Antigua and Barbuda has fairly extensive fishing grounds, with a shelf area of 3568 km2 and a coastline of 260 km,
As a result of the limited and small scale nature of fisheries, Antigua and Barbuda is a net importer of fish and fishery products, although domestic export of high value species (such as the spiny lobster) is slowly narrowing the trade deficit. Export is largely to the French overseas departments and regions of Guadeloupe, Martinique and St. Barthelemy. The European Union is also an important export market, especially for the export of live lobster.
Antigua and Barbuda’s fisheries are primarily composed of the marine and inland sub-sectors. The marine sub-sector is almost exclusively artisanal or small-scale commercial fishing in nature. In the past all marine fishing was conducted from small wooden pirogues powered by sail or paddle, but the industry has undergone a significant modernisation over the past thirty years.
Most of the traditional vessels have been replaced by modern pirogues equipped with the latest fishing equipment. The catch profile for marine fishermen is mainly tuna-like fish, queen conch, groupers, grunts, snappers, and sturgeon. There is currently no commercial exploitation of inland fishery resources, although the traditional harvest of some freshwater and estuarine species on a recreational or subsistence basis does occur. The catch profile of the inland fisheries includes mullets, tarpons and tilapia. Over several decades there have been a number of failed attempts to conduct aquaculture on Antigua. These have all been land-based operations (as opposed to marine) and most have failed due to high operational costs and limited freshwater supply.
Some of the most important fishery organisations include the Antigua and Barbuda Fishermen’s Alliance, Barbuda Fishermen’s Cooperative, and the Antigua and Barbuda Fishermen’s Cooperative Society Limited.
The Fisheries Division in the Ministry of Agriculture, Land, Marine Resources and Agro-Industries is the national agency responsible for the management and development of the fisheries sector in Antigua and Barbuda. The overall goal of the fisheries division is to maintain and restore populations of marine species at levels that can produce the maximum sustainable yield and to develop and increase the potential of marine living resources to meet human nutritional needs, as well as social, economic and development goals.
The Caribbean Community (CARICOM) is an organisation of 15 Caribbean nations including Antigua and Barbuda whose main purpose is to promote economic co-operation and integration between member states through the expansion of trade and economic relations with third states.