Occupation in Los
Roques and the development of fishing as an economic activity.
Fishing activity was
first carried out by aboriginals as early as the X century. This
situation continued well into the XVI century although probably
at lower levels.
Between the XVII and XIX centuries Los Roques was occupied by
foreign inhabitants. The presence of people from the Dutch
Antilles was significant (Aruba, Bonaire and Curacao) who were
really more interested in the exploitation of mangrove ( for the
production of coal ), limestone, guano and salt than fishing. It
is not until the early XX century that the region began to be
considered as an important fishing center.
The first shanties were made by fishermen in Gran Roque who came
from Margarita island and by 1923 managed to consolidate a town
in this region. The diversity, abundance and availability of
fishing resources in the archipelago gave way to the growth of
the population of Gran Roque. By 1950 when boats with Outboards
were first introduced as well as deep freezers the population of
Gran Roque reached 409 persons. At that time the population was
divided among Roquenos and Margaritenos. The first came as
settlers and the latter to develop the fishing potential of the
Up until then, the environment of the archipelago was typical of
a fishing community, with its humble houses, the relevance of
fishing and the come and go of men women and children. From
there on the tourist industry began to thrive and many of these
homes turned into Posadas or guest houses, the fishing sector
has slowed down (due to the existence of other economic
alternatives) and the streets have come to be full of visitors
whose faces change every day: the tourist.
By the year 2000 the population of the archipelago had reached
one thousand, many of them Venezuelan and foreigners linked to
the administration of Posadas (small hotels) and the rendering
of several tourist services.
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Fishing in Los
Roques: a way of life.
The fishing that
takes place in Los Roques is very similar to the one done in the
mainland and in other islands in the country. This activity is
basically controlled by environmental conditions and where
physical strength is used to operate traditional fishing. This
activity is done either individually or in groups thus showing
full knowledge of the species to be captured. The profit is
shared according to the degree of participation of each
fisherman. There is no doubt that the process and carrying out
of this activity today is the result of the union of Indigenous
and Spanish fishing practices adapted to the species and local
conditions. The current chapter aims at giving a full summary of
the fishing activities done in the archipelago.