The vessels of Dynasty Marine Associates head out for a day of 

collection in the Florida Keys.  Photo by Dynasty Marine Associates, LLC

The Coral Reef Aquarium Fisheries Campaign assesses legal, policy and regulatory frameworks of coral reef aquarium fish fisheries in source locales.  We describe and assess:                                                                                                                                   

·  A survey of the current policy framework, based on literature review and interviews

·  A survey of fishery agency resources available and needed to manage and enforce the fishery and its policy framework

·  The effects of current policy on the population sustainability of select indigenous coral reef aquarium fish species, based on population monitoring data

·  The perceived effects, both positive and negative, of current policy on the livelihoods of value chain actors (fishers and traders) and their businesses, and expressed desired changes to current policy, based on surveys and interviews of coral reef aquarium actors

· A critical comparative analysis of the policy against policy models in other source locales, with recommendations for national and local sustainable management

Dynasty Marine transports their catch of the day individually in ventilated containers inside an aerated live well to minimize fish aggression and optimize welfare during transport. Photo by Dynasty Marine

Florida Marine Life Policy Analysis

The Coral Reef Aquarium Fisheries Campaign performed an assessment of Florida’s marine life policy landscape and the current state of Florida’s commercial marine aquarium fishery to inform and guide stakeholders about 1) management strategies for the fishery moving forward; and 2) to highlight successful policy measures in place in Florida that merit consideration for adoption in other source locales around the world.  The study discovered that the State has a strong regulatory structure for the commercial fishery operated by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission; utilizing license and permitting requirements, conventional fisheries management measures and technical actions to regulate fishing mortality, and rights-based management approaches.  Additionally, both fisheries-independent and dependent surveys have been conducted in recent years to assess the fishery.  Consequently, the vast majority of fish species collected commercially for the trade indicate stable or increasing densities or catch per unit effort in Florida waters over 10+ years.  Moving forward, the fishery can benefit from an assessment of the economic impacts of the policy on its fishers, a statewide fisheries management plan specific for the fishery, greater state and national-level support for fisheries research to inform adaptive fisheries management, and an assessment of resources at hand and those needed to implement these recommendations.