Find Fisheries expertise in Saint Lucia
- Overview of the industry
- Fishery bodies
Fisheries, together with agriculture and forestry, contribute 4% to Saint Lucia’s GDP – employing around 2,300 people in the primary sector, of whom about 59% are full time, while there are estimated to be about 120 fish vendors and processors. Saint Lucia is a net importer of fish as while the value of imports was estimated at US$6 million in 2005, the value of exports were negligible. Saint Lucia has a short coastline of 158 km, and a shelf area of 522 km.
About, 65% of fish landings are offshore migratory pelagics such as dolphin fish, wahoo and tuna and tuna-like species, but as they are migratory, are only captured between December and June. Flying fish are also an important part of the catch profile, as well as a multitude of shallow reef and bank fish species.
There are no inland fisheries at present, and the traditional freshwater prawn fishery remains closed due to declining stocks.
The shallow and reef fisheries on the other hand target a variety of reef species including over 40 finfish species, as well as lobsters and octopuses. The lobster fishery is a high-value fishery with catch largely intended for the tourism sector.
The coastal pelagic fishery is a very important fishery to communities along the west coast of the island. The coastal catch profile is largely jacks, ballyhoo and sardines. Other notable fisheries include the queen conch, sea turtles, sea urchins, as well as a deep slope fishery which targets snappers and grouper species.
Aquaculture is also fairly well established though still on a small scale, producing freshwater shrimp, tilapia and marine algae.
Specific fisheries management objectives are to maintain and/or restore the population of marine species, preserve rare or fragile ecosystems and habitats, and to protect and restore endangered marine and freshwater species amongst others. The government of Saint Lucia, with the assistance of Canada and Japan, has invested substantially in fisheries infrastructure.
The Department of Fisheries, a sub-division of the Ministry of Agriculture, Lands, Forestry and Fisheries works to promote the development of Saint Lucia’s fisheries to achieve an eventual aim of self-sufficiency in the fish sector. The fishery act, No. 10 of 1984 and the Fisheries Regulations No. 9 of 1994 form the basis of law related to fisheries. The royal Saint Lucia Force, especially the Marine Unit – is responsible for the enforcement of fisheries laws.