June 6, 2015
A Review of the Ecology and Economics of Montserrat's Marine Resources
Publisher: UC Santa Barbara
Funders: Government of Montserrat, WAITT Institute
Montserrat is a small, volcanic island in the Caribbean Sea that has undergone significant economic and ecological change over the past three decades due to disruption caused by a hurricane and prolonged volcanic activity. Montserrat's marine ecosystems face a variety of threats, including sedimentation from the volcano, storm damage, coastal development, and climate change-associated sea level rise. While fishing plays a small economic role in Montserrat in terms of its contribution to national GDP, it is an important source of income and food security, and is culturally significant. There are currently about 100 fishers active in Montserrat, targeting over 200 species of fish and invertebrates. Landings are substantially lower than they were prior to the onset of volcanic activity, reflecting the lower number of fishers and the loss of access to productive fishing grounds. There are currently very few fisheries management regulations that are enforced in Montserrat, but regulations proposed in 2009 would restrict fishing gear and seasons, protect certain species, and facilitate the creation of marine reserves. Montserrat currently does not have any ocean zoning aside from the Maritime Exclusion Zone, which restricts access to the waters adjacent to the volcano.