70th Annual Conference GCFI: Call for Papers

GCFI Press Release

June 6, 2017 – The 70th Annual conference of the Gulf and Caribbean Fisheries Institute will be held in Merida, Mexico, from 6-10 November 2017 at the Hyatt Regency Merida Hotel. The conference is being hosted by the CINVESTAV, Unidad Merida, Instituto Technologico de Merida and Universidad Autonoma de Yucatan.

The 70th GCFI conference will focus on applying fisheries and marine science to solve problems by bringing multiple users of ocean resources together to make informed and coordinated decisions for sustainable use of these resources. Addressing the issues of connectivity, fisheries management, conservation, and related issues at GCFI will aid in addressing critical marine resource issues within the Wider Caribbean Region.

The theme of the Conference is “Towards the Sustainability of Tropical Fisheries Strategies, Models and Tools“. The initiative is based on the interest of the membership of the GCFI to call attention to users on the importance of sustainable oceans through the implementation of sustainable fisheries and marine resource management. We recognize that new sustainability-oriented projects are needed in order to reset ecological balances, to change consumption and production patterns, promote ecological efficiency, and restore social equity conditions. The conference will emphasize the stakeholder processes to identify fisheries management strategies that put fisheries on the path to sustainability. In particular, we encourage presentations that guide the user in identifying the appropriate monitoring, assessment and management options for a specific fishery, including its socio-economic and governance context, goals and needs.


GCFI is pleased to announce that the opening address will be presented by Dr. Brian Luckhurst. Dr. Luckhurst retired several years ago after 27 years as the Senior Fisheries Officer, Department of Environmental Protection, Bermuda Government. He has worked in the wider Caribbean region since 1970 conducting studies in Barbados, Curacao, Bonaire and Venezuela. He made his first dive on a grouper spawning aggregation in 1973. Most of his work has been with coral reef fishes including studies of the reproduction and age and growth of groupers and snappers, with a focus on the dynamics of reef fish spawning aggregations, management and conservation issues in Bermuda, Belize, Puerto Rico, Cayman Islands and the wider Caribbean.

He monitored the recovery of Bermuda’s coral reef fish stocks (focusing on parrotfish) by diver census for nine years following a fish pot ban in 1990. Other studies have involved the fishery biology of pelagic species such as wahoo, yellowfin tuna, blackfin tuna and dolphinfish. He was a partner in an international program to deploy satellite pop-up tags on blue marlin in the western Atlantic over five years. He has also conducted studies on the fishery biology of deep-water fishes (wreckfish, misty grouper). He has published over 75 scientific papers as well as numerous technical reports and marine conservation pamphlets. He is a co-author of a book published in 1999, “Fishes of Bermuda”. He is a long-standing emeritus member of the Gulf and Caribbean Fisheries Institute (GCFI), and is a Board member of Science and Conservation of Fish Aggregations (SCRFA). He has been a fisheries and marine resources consultant to The Nature Conservancy, the Caribbean Fishery Resources and Management Program (CFRAMP) and the Caribbean Fisheries Management Council. Since retirement he has been a fisheries consultant to the Bermuda Government and for the past five years he has been working with the Sargasso Sea Commission studying the pelagic ecosystem of the Sargasso Sea with a focus on tunas, swordfish and sharks.

CONFERENCE THEMATIC SESSION: Grouper Fishery of the Gulf of Mexico

The host institutions propose a thematic session on “Grouper Fishery of the Gulf of Mexico”. Management of the Gulf of Mexico grouper fishery, has reached a new level of complexity with social, economic, ecological, and biological considerations playing a large role in the management and sustainability of these important commercial species. The purpose of this session is to facilitate critical thinking by reviewing the issues affecting grouper fisheries management in the Gulf of Mexico, especially off the Yucatan Peninsula, and examining the ways in which management measures interact. We hope that this session will stimulate discussion and expand the array of solutions available by learning from the experiences of experts and stakeholders involved in research and management representing different regions, disciplines, and areas of expertise.

We encourage presentations on:
• Biology and Life history, (e.g. stock structure, age and growth, reproduction, mortality)
• Monitoring (e.g. data needs, improvement on data collection system)
• Stock assessment (e.g. evaluation of methods used to estimate population and management parameters; single species, multi-species management)
• Recreational and commercial fisheries (e.g. status, effort, harvest, fishing grounds)
• Socio-economic aspect of grouper fisheries
• Stakeholders participation (e.g. education, outreach, and awareness)
• Habitat interaction and associated species (e.g. information about associated groupers and snappers; nursery grounds)
• Successful management strategies in the Gulf of Mexico


The conference program features multi-disciplinary sessions arranged in part by ecosystem type. The subject areas are consistent with previous GCFI conferences. Each session may have a mix of natural and social science, management, and technology related to the ecosystem or fisheries. Papers and posters are solicited in the following areas (other subjects not listed below will also be considered):

  • Governance, livelihoods, gender and organizations
  • Reefs and associated ecosystems fisheries
    • Shallow and deep reef fishes
    • Snapper and grouper fisheries
    • Fish spawning aggregations
    • Lionfish and other invasive species
    • Queen conch, spiny lobster, and other invertebrates
  • Marine Protected Areas Science and Management
  • Pelagic ecosystem and recreational fisheries
  • Continental shelf ecosystem fisheries
  • Habitats, climate change, and coastal management
    • Essential fish habitats
    • Integrated coastal management
    • Climate change adaptation
    • Sargassum
  • Aquaculture
  • Marine Debris

Kindly submit your abstracts following GCFI instructions, but indicate Gender as your poster session preference. For more information please contact Maria Pena; and Dalila Aldana.



Innovative technologies and tools to support implementation of Ecosystem-Based Management” (EBM) and the “Ecosystem Approach to Fisheries” (EAF) in the CLME+ region

The sustainability of the provision of goods and services from the living marine environment in the Caribbean and North Brazil Shelf Large Marine Ecosystems (further referred to as “the CLME+ region”) has been severely affected over the past decade as a consequence of inadequate fishing practices, habitat degradation and marine pollution. These effects become exacerbated as symptoms of climatic variability and change.

In 2013, countries from the wider Caribbean developed and politically endorsed a region-wide, 10-year Strategic Action Programme: the “CLME+ SAP” (2015-2025) “for the Sustainable Management of shared Living Marine Resources”. The CLME+ SAP promotes region-wide adoption and implementation of “Ecosystem-Based Management” (EBM) and the “Ecosystem Approach to Fisheries” (EAF).

The CLME+ SAP identified weaknesses in marine resources governance, awareness building, data and information management and exchange, monitoring and enforcement capacity, and science-policy interface, to be at the root of environmental degradation in the CLME+ region.

Improved interactive governance, defined as “the whole of interactions among public, civil and private actors taken to solve societal problems and to create societal opportunities” is believed to be key to reverting the ongoing degradation of the marine environment, and its diminishing support for socio-economic development.

Several practical examples exist to date, showing how innovative technologies and tools can be instrumental in fostering and up-scaling such “interactive governance”, and in the promotion and implementation of EBM/EAF. This special session will highlight innovations and technologies that have been applied successfully in the CLME+ region and beyond.

Contributions to the session will include but not limited to: the development and/or adoption of online tools that support decision-making for sustainable choices, either at the policy level (government) or “in the field” (consumers/producers, general public); GPS- and mobile phone-based apps that the public can use to register/report the location of key features or events; technologies and tools to support Monitoring, Control and Surveillance, e.g.: drones and remote sensing technology for monitoring IUU; interactive approaches for scenario modelling and environmental reporting, etc.

The session will consist of presentations (a) by invited guest speakers and (b) selected from proposals submitted by participants. Proposals that address the various dimensions (ecological, social, and economic) of the EBM/EAF approaches are encouraged.

For more information please contact Patrick Debels or Andrea Salina from the CLME+ Project Coordination Unit.

Download here the complete press release.