Advances in Movement and Population Connectivity of Highly Migratory Fishes in the Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean

Characterizing the movement and population connectivity of highly migratory fish species can be challenging but is particularly critical for species that require multilateral stock assessment and cooperative management efforts. Several techniques exist to quantify movement rates including capture data, conventional tagging, acoustic and satellite tags, genetic molecular approaches, and natural chemical tags such as elements and isotopes in calcified structures and soft tissues of fish. Each technique varies on the spatial and temporal scale of resolution, from very fine (electronic tags) to broad (genetic and chemical). This session will focus on studies using diverse methodologies to gain better understanding of migration patterns, habitat use, and population connectivity of highly migratory fishes. Organized by: John Mohan, R.J. David Wells, Oscar Sosa-Nishizaki, Sharon Herzka, Juan Carlos Pérez Jiménez,

Aquatic Habitat Ecology & Conservation: Continental and Marine Ecosystems Connectivity

The first Aquatic Habitat Conservation in South America Symposium occurred during the XXI Brazilian Society of Ichthyology Meeting in 2015. The proceedings were published in the Journal of Fish Biology (vol. 89, Number 1, June 2016). In this special issue, the authors provided an analytical overview of problems conserving South America’s fish and aquatic habitats. Based on this finding, we would like to extend this topic to other American countries, with different climates, fauna, and flora. Our goal is to provide a comprehensive and multidisciplinary overview of variables influencing flora and fauna distributions and shaping their ecological interactions within aquatic ecosystems. All topics related to aquatic habitat (marine and freshwater) ecology and conservation are therefore welcome. Organized by: Felipe Amezcua, Mario Barletta,

Batoids of Latin America and the Caribbean

Rays are understudied and undervalued in Latin America and the Caribbean. The region hosts some of the most iconic and endangered batoid species in the world, including mobulas, sawfishes, eagle rays, and endemic freshwater rays, but lacks a cohesive approach to the research, conservation and management of the taxa. The symposium will highlight this diverse group of fishes from researchers throughout the region. Organized by: Rachel Graham , MarAlliance ( Ivy Baremore , MarAlliance ( Patricia Charvet , Programa de Pós-graduação em Sistemática, Uso e Conservação da Biodiversidade (PPGSis – UFC) and Projeto Trygon ( Dr. Javier Tovar, National Fisheries Institute Felipe Amezcua Martinez, Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico, (

Billfish Management and Conservation: Implications for Fishing, Tourism, and Coastal Communities

Billfishes are highly migratory apex predators with important roles in marine ecosystems of the Pacific, Atlantic and Indian oceans. They also support important commercial and recreational fisheries in many countries and, thus, changes in their patterns of abundance and distribution have important ecological, social and economic implications. This session welcomes studies related to billfish behavior, patterns of distribution, variability, trends, and the impacts of environmental and anthropogenic factors on their population dynamics. In addition, studies examining the impact of commercial and recreational billfish fisheries on fishing tourism and the development of coastal communities are encouraged. Organized by: Marina Marrari, Moisés Mug Villanueva,

Challenges and Successes in Fisheries Improvement Projects

Fishery improvement projects (FIP) are a structured multi-stakeholder effort to improve fisheries´ practices to a level of performance compatible with some pre-determined standard, often to access new markets and to benefit fishers. Latin America and the Caribbean are one of the world´s most active regions (in terms of the number of FIPs and their diversity) in this space. However, fisheries in the region often meet unique challenges when it comes to improving fisheries that fisheries elsewhere do not face. These challenges range from lack of funding to lack of collaboration to difficulty implementing best practices. This session will gather FIP implementers and interested stakeholders to share challenges and successes in fisheries improvement efforts. Organized by: Marin Hawk,

Characterizing Gulf and Caribbean Marine Recreational Fisheries: Current Management and Future Challenges

Recreational fisheries play a pivotal role as economic drivers throughout the world, but can be especially beneficial to developing nations.  This benefit, however, can be overshadowed by a lack of foresight and planning if management strategies are not established early in the process. In addition to economic impacts, recreational fisheries also provide strong social and cultural connections for coastal and island communities.  Like most natural systems, the ecosystems that support recreational fisheries are experiencing increasing pressure from human activity and overuse, climate change, ocean acidification, etc. which threaten their long-term sustainable use.  This full-day symposium invites contributions focused on the importance of recreational fisheries and can include topics such as bioeconomics, intersectoral conflicts and threats, and/or management challenges.  Contributions to share experiences, knowledge, and future concerns are strongly encouraged from practitioners and organizations involved in recreational fisheries activities–including fishing guides, boat/tour operators, fishing clubs, non-governmental organizations, and similar. Organized by: Mark Besonen, Laura E. Vidal Hernández, Tara Topping,

Collections and Their Importance in the Global Defaunation Process

Biological collections correspond to an invaluable inventory of biological biodiversity since they compile the natural heritage of a country or region and its temporal variation. Considering the growing global threats derived from human activity especially exacerbated during the current Anthropocene period, biological collections represent an excellent tool for studying their effects and consequences on biodiversity conservation. The current process of defaunation has affected both aquatic and terrestrial environments, however, in recent years we have been able to show that this decline in aquatic environments has been more severe. This is evident in the greater number of threatened species, or that are in some category of risk. Coordination between academia, society, and government is necessary, which allows developing actions to reduce the loss of diversity in freshwater environments where collections can play a central role in this coordination. Organized by: Patricia Ornelas,

Comparing Range-Wide Observations from Snook/Robalo (Centropomus spp.): Fostering Collaboration Through Information Sharing

Snook/robalo (Centropomus spp.) are widely distributed fishes found in tropical/subtropical waters of the western Atlantic and eastern Pacific Oceans. Due to the socioeconomic and ecological importance of snook, research has rapidly expanded with >50 scientific papers published since the year 2000. These efforts have provided a wealth of knowledge regarding the life-history, age and growth, reproductive physiology, trophic interactions, genetics, behaviors, and aquaculture practices for multiple species. However, the broad distribution of snook, which spans political borders and multiple languages, has hindered collaborations among different regions. To facilitate information sharing and encourage collaborative research efforts, the goal of this symposium is to bring together a diverse group of researchers studying snook throughout their range. By sharing lessons learned and synthesizing findings from different systems/regions, we can help inform future research and provide information that supports the conservation and management of these socially, economically, and ecologically important fisheries. Organized by: Jennifer Rehage, Alexis Trotter, Philip Stevens, Jordan Massie, Michael Allen,

Connecting Sustainable Fishing/Aquaculture with Sustainable Consumption

Sustainable small-scale fisheries and aquaculture continue to grow in popularity as environmentally conscious consumers seek to minimize their impact and financially support and grow local economies. There is substantial opportunity for small-scale fisheries and aquaculture producers to provide sustainably caught and cultured products to environmentally supportive tourism businesses such as eco-lodges, live-aboard vessel tours, and restaurants, while at the same time continuing to provide these products to local residents. There is also opportunity to develop sustainable recreational fisheries, particularly those based on catch and release principles, that would promote sustainability and employment opportunities. We propose to organize a panel discussion featuring a balanced mix of local entrepreneurs and fisheries and social scientists to discuss potential barriers and benefits of meeting the demand for sustainable, locally produced fish and shellfish (wild capture or aquaculture) and socially responsible recreational fishing opportunities. Organized by: Hal Michael Jr., Patricia Michael, Cleve Steward,

Data Science as Empowering Fisheries Knowledge and Sustainability

Data science is empowering people across many disciplines, and even pushing a new paradigm on how to produce and apply knowledge for achieving sustainability. Fishery science is not an exception, therefore, this innovative session is a unique platform to share experiences on how data analytics, statistics, machine learning, deep learning, artificial intelligence, programming, and other related fields, are empowering decision making towards the sustainability of fishery resources around the world. Participants are encouraged to share innovative methods, new algorithms, or creative applications of data science, that answer old and new questions in fishery science, and inspire others into new creative solutions. Organized by: Iván Felipe Benavides, Jhoana Romero,

Dispersal And Movement Behaviour of Young and Small-Bodied Freshwater Fish

This session is aimed at convening presentations that can shed light on our knowledge about the dispersal and movements of freshwater larvae and small-bodied fish. Fish larvae are the most threatened life stage of most species, and population persistence depends on larval survival. Amongst threatened species, small-bodied fish figure as those with the larger number of species under a certain level of threat. Yet, these species have been neglected or received very little attention in research, leaving considerable knowledge gaps about their ecology and behaviour. For both larvae and small-bodied fish, one aspect of their life-histories considerably understudied is their dispersal and movement abilities. We aim to bring together researchers from across the globe that have, most recently, devoted efforts to understanding and characterising movement behaviour and dispersal patterns in fish larvae and small-bodied species. Organized by: Luiz G. M. Silva, Evelyn Habit, Robert Naudascher,

Fisheries Bycatch and Discards: RedCID an Iberoamérica and Caribe Network

Incidental catches and discards of unwanted species or sizes, especially of vulnerable species are a challenge for fisheries managers. With the aim of supporting the sustainable use of ecosystems, an interactive and virtual network was created in 2021 by a group of colleagues, partly motivated by the restrictions imposed by COVID19 and the change to virtual communication media. Since the network release, several web seminars were carried out on a monthly frequency, covering subjects of interest and needs of their participants. After two years or virtual functioning, we propose a workshop in order to present the status of the bycatch problem in different regions of Iberoamerica and Caribe, seek for ways to strengthen interactions through the network, and discuss measures and solutions for bycatch and discards management. We think it is a good time to have a workshop, receiving suggestions from the participants in the Congress to improve our activities in the future. Organized by: Maria Eva Gongora, Silvana Dans, Marcelo San Martin, Martin Hall, Patricia Rosero, Danielle da Silveira Monteiro, Eduardo Resende Secchi,

Fisheries Sustainability Improvement Challenges and Solutions for Small-scale Fishery Communities

UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) emphasize a critical overhaul of current fishing practices and management in marine systems and aquatic ecosystems more generally. Specific targets such as support for small-scale fishers (14.9)increase economic benefits for marine resources (14.7), and end subsidies for overfishing (14.6) have made poor progress given the original 2030 deadline of achievement. Although a plethora of management approaches and economic strategies have become available in recent decades for catalyzing these changes, the understanding of available pathways for small-scale fisheries (SSF) to achieve SDG’s remains ambiguous. Under even the best circumstances, implementation of approaches common to industrial fishing can be excessively demanding for developing nation and SSF communities with fisheries being often data-poor and not able address local sustainability priorities. The proposed symposium will bring together speakers from the SSF and aquaculture communities who have implemented creative solutions to overcome barriers to achieve sustainable environmental and socio-economic goals. Organized by: Trevor Eakes, Danielle Reich, Claire Coiraton,

Fishery Improvement Projects as a Market-driven Tool to Improve Fisheries Sustainability

Fishery Improvement Projects (FIPs) are a multi-stakeholder effort that aims to address the challenges in a fishery, especially those towards environmental sustainability. However, FIPs are starting to include other issues. These projects use the power of the private sector to incentivize improvements in fisheries. FIPs are increasing worldwide and their goal is to improve the sustainability of the fisheries, while maintaining access to markets interested in sourcing more sustainable seafood. Although they do not necessarily pursue certification, FIPs use the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) Fishery Standard as a benchmark tool to track FIPs environmental performance. This session will consist of a brief FIP overview, followed by a plenary talk where several stakeholders will share their experience collaborating in a FIP and how their work is driving their fisheries to sustainability in Latin America and the Caribbean region. Stakeholders will be answering questions such as, how are they collaborating within FIP? How FIPs are increasing fisheries knowledge? How FIPs are driving changes in fishery practices and management? Organized by: Antonio Gomez Gomez, Wendy Goyert, Jesse Marsh,

Improving Data-Limited, Coastal Fisheries: Realities, Challenges, and Innovation from Latin America Cases

The process of implementing effective, participatory coastal fisheries management measures that are durable and supported by  multiple stakeholders can be an enormous challenge, especially in data-limited situations. Management paralysis, or an inability to move forward, can often occur for multiple reasons and at multiple levels. Factors such as limited avenues for inclusive stakeholder participation, messy or disparate  data sources, limited capacity to assess and analyze, challenges in implementing data collection systems at faster time scales, and lack of community ownership of management decisions, contribute to this action impasse. During this session we will learn from different experiences across Latin America that have addressed and overcome this challenge through applying diverse tactics and methodologies. Organized by: Mariana Walther, Serena Lomonico, Felipe Torres,

Introduced Salmonids in South America: Distribution, Impacts, and Management

The introduction of non-native salmonids into South America has resulted in the establishment of multiple species. Today Rainbow Trout, Brown Trout, and Chinook Salmon have the broadest distributions on the continent. Research on the ecology and impacts of non-native salmonids has developed during the last two decades. Yet, many questions remain about the future of salmonids in this region. This symposium aims to provide an update on the current knowledge about salmonids in South America, focusing on their biogeography, ecology, genetics, ecosystem impacts and effects, socioecology, and management options. We will end this session with a discussion panel about management methods of invasive salmonids and challenges in mitigating impacts. Organized by: Andres Olivos, Ivan Arismendi, Katherine Adase, Guillermo Figueroa-Muñoz, Daniel Gomez-Uchida, Cecilia Di Prinzio, Beatriz Cid-Aguayo, Loreto Arias, Loreto Arias,

Microplastics: Impacts, Challenges, and Knowledge in Marine Organisms

This session is addressed to experts in the field of fisheries and aquatic environments studying emergent contaminants such as microplastics (MPs) to share and discuss the most advanced studies of MPs, challenges, and negative impacts on marine organisms. Organized by: Felipe Amezcua, Lorena Rios-Mendoza,

Recreational Fisheries in Latin America and the Caribbean: Opportunities and Challenges

Recreational fishing (RF) is a very popular activity worldwide, with at least 220 million people catching billions of fish each year. Lately there has been a growing recognition of its economic, socio-cultural and ecological relevance, as well as of the importance of recreational catches compared to commercial landings. The literature on RF in countries from Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) is scarce and scattered, with little connection between researchers working on different topics. The proposed Recreational Fisheries Symposium aims at sharing experiences about the state of the art for the study of RF in LAC, including topics (but not limited to) such as legal framework, governance, management and monitoring. Big pictures for the status of RF in each country are encouraged for oral presentations and panels. A plenary aimed to discuss the potential advantages of creating a network of stakeholders interested in RF in the region will be organized. Organized by: Arturo Ramírez-Valdez, Martín Laporta Migues, Martín García Asorey, Leonardo Venerus, Hugo Aguirre-Villaseñor,

The Giant Fishes of LAC: Natural History, Management, and Conservation

Coastal bony fishes with a size greater than one meter in length play a key role in the ecosystem and are a valuable economic and cultural resource, however, most species are threatened by overfishing, habitat loss, and coastal pollution. The Latin American and Caribbean coastal waters are home to at least 32 species of giant fishes, half of these have been evaluated with a degree of vulnerability by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), with eight species lacking data preventing their assessment. The IUCN’s Red List is a tool to inform and catalyze conservation actions; however, the IUCN’s recommendations are not integrated into national and regional fisheries management programs. This symposium seeks to bring together academics, civil organizations, managers, and stakeholders on the research and management of giant, commercially important fishes to discuss and generate an international and synergic effort toward new stewardship for these fish species. Organized by: Arturo Ramírez-Valdez, Stuart Fulton, Athila Bertoncini, Alfonso Aguilar-Perera, William Heyman, Andrea Sáenz-Arroyo,

The Status and Trends of the Inland Fisheries in Latin America and the Caribbean

Latin America and the Caribbean is a region with abundant inland water resources and associated ecosystems, which deliver a range of important ecosystem services, including inland fisheries which provides food and nutrition, to the riparian populations. Data and information about these fisheries are sparse and scattered in most of the countries. In this session an updated review of the characteristics and status of inland fisheries of the countries in Latin America and the Caribbean will be presented and discussed. The document analyzes the trends in the fisheries, the quality of the available information, the social and economic value of fisheries resources and their contribution to food security and nutrition and poverty alleviation. It also describes the legal and management frameworks for inland fisheries, the value chain, and the value of other fishing activities such as ornamental and sport-recreational fisheries. Organized by: Claudio Baigun, John Jorgensen,