The marine fisheries of Trinidad and Tobago are diversified in terms of species, gear types and fishing fleets. There is a small fleet of industrial and semi-industrial inshore shrimp vessels, and an emerging fleet of semi-industrial vessels which target pelagic species in the offshore areas. The country is a base for the transshipment of quality fish products to international markets.
987Species of fish thrive in the waters and coastal areas of Trinidad and Tobago
922Species are native endemic salt water fish
60Species of commercial value
65Number of fishing sites around Trinidad and 32 sites in Tobago
13,120Metric tonnes: Estimated fish landings in 2013
1,570Number of local fishing vessels
Fish-harvesting involves large and small operators targeting inshore and offshore fishing zones, with vessels that range from small five-man pirogues to larger vessels which are put to sea for months at a time. There is also an established and internationally-recognized, sport fishing sub-industry.
Offshore fisheries comprise highly migratory pelagic fisheries by commercial longline vessels targeting tuna and associated species.
Inshore fisheries comprise artisanal, coastal pelagic as well as soft-bottom and hard-bottom demersal fisheries.
Coastal and offshore recreational fisheries occur largely through tournaments and charter boat arrangements year round.
Inland fisheries use various gears including hand collections for crabs, oysters, brackish water species and shellfish.
International trade in fish and fishery products is based mainly on the export of tuna, snapper, flying fish, kingfish, carite (Spanish mackerel), croaker, bechine and shrimp. Fishery products are mainly exported chilled or frozen, and processing technology is generally limited to primary processing and packaging. Processing plants and export companies purchase from individually owned vessels through a system of wholesale buyers.
The Caribbean Fisheries Training and Development Institute, located on the western side of Trinidad, delivers training and development programmes to local and regional fisheries and maritime industries. Over 7,000 people are employed in areas directly related to fishing.
The onshore industry comprises businesses which specialize in boat building and repair as well as specialty supply shops.
The islands lie downstream of major South American river systems, including the Orinoco and the Amazon. This has influenced marine habitat types, which range from muddy bottom, brackish waters to coral reefs. The marine areas exhibit a diversity of marine species typical of both continental South America and the Caribbean.
Trinidad and Tobago is a reputable source for excellent fishery products of which an estimated US $40 million is exported to the USA annually.
An opportunity for investment lies in Trinidad and Tobago's marine aquaculture subsector. Investors are invited to establish and deploy a tank-based, modified seawater water recirculation system to produce high-value marine fish species.Learn More