Photography provided by Brilliant Studios


What is overfishing?

From the Wikipedia: Overfishing is the removal of a species of fish from a body of water at a rate that the species cannot replenish in time, resulting in those species either becoming depleted or very underpopulated in that given area. Overfishing has spread all over the globe and has been present for centuries.

What threat does overfishing pose to the environment and coral reefs?

Overfishing upset the balance in the food chain which, in turn, upsets the natural balance of factors that maintain a healthy reef.  For example, if you remove a large number of herbivores, such as parrotfish, then algae, which the parrotfish eat, will overgrow the coral and smother it.

What is TCRF doing about overfishing?

TCRF works with the Department of Environment and Coastal Resources to educate and advocate for compliance with local fishing ordinances, as well as assisting with identifying offenders of those ordinances.  TCRF is also advocating that the entire Economic Enterprise Zone of the TCI be declared a shark sanctuary.

Can I see where in the world people are overfishing?

Yes! Click on the map below, the Global Fishing Watch map is amazing.

TCI Overfishing Facts

  • Overfishing in the TCI has resulted in high unemployment on the fishing capital of the TCI – South Caicos

  • Illegal fishing has depleted fish populations in the TCI, especially in more remote areas such as around French Cay

  • Conch are being removed from TCI waters at rates that are not biologically sustainable and will eventually result in a collapse of the conch fishery all together.

  • The average Turks & Caicos adult Islander consumes 7.5 kg of conch, 6.7 kg of lobster and 12.6 kg of reef fish (snapper, grouper, etc) each year

  • A local consumption survey conducted in 2013-2014 found that local conch consumption was 560,000 lbs. A maximum of 300,000 lbs of conch is exported each year. But the maximum sustainable yield is estimated to be only 610,000 lbs annually, so conch are being overfished every year by nearly half a million pounds.

  • Over 800,000 lbs of lobster are caught annually in TCI waters which is very near the maximum sustainable yield.

  • Since records started being kept, the average lobster size has decreased from 3 kg. to 0.7 kg.