The flying fish disappears from the Caribbean

(1ERE) – In Barbados, restaurants can no longer offer flying fish every day. Because of the shortage of this staple food, prices have skyrocketed. Previously we had a hundred flying fish for 10 euros. Today with 13 euros we only have 10 fish.

Barbados Oistins Market
© barbadostourism | Oistins Market in Barbados where the flying fish is king

This national dish of Barbados, the emblem of the tourism bureau that also appears on the dollar coin, becomes a luxury for many homes

At one time, flying fish accounted for 65% of the catch of fishermen. In St. Lucia, fishermen in the town of Vieux Fort, located in the south of the island, make the same observation. They do not take flying fish any more. 

Sargassum beds prevent flying fish from spreading their wings in order to move properly over the sea surface. 

Shanna Emmanuel, a fisheries biologist, estimates that flying fish are moving north in search of cooler waters where Sargassas are absent. Sargassas love the warmer waters. 

According to figures published by FAO, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, catches of fish in the Caribbean, all species combined, have fallen by 40% in the last 20 years. On a global scale, overfishing in the region is catastrophic. 

Today 80% of the fish and seafood consumed in the Caribbean is imported.


  1. Could this also be a case of overfishing? What about the effects of constant pollution?
    Apart from warmer waters, are we doing anything to cause the growth of Sargassum seaweed?
    The Caribbean is a blessed place, it would be sad to lose its natural beauty in just a single generation. Let us look at long term strategies to keep the region green!

    • The sargassum explosion is not only the result of warming seas, it is also caused by water too rich in nutrients, basically fertiliser runoff from the land and rivers.

  2. So sad for Barbados. Yet this is inevitable due to the greed and selfishness of human kind. In 2008 we were fortunate enough to eat flying fish whilst staying with my dear cousin in family. Our youngest ( then 6 years ) daughter complained. Now look where you are in the similar predicament of Canada with our cod dissappearing from the Grand Banks of our eastern coastline since late 1980s…now almost entirely farmed cod…SAD.

  3. Flying fish at one time used to end up in the waters off the island of Tobago and there was a little to do
    about that. Now, I guess there are far more serious reasons for their declining population, which I am absolutely not qualified to make a statement on. Such a pity, though.

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