68th GCFI - Panama City, Panama
9 November 2015 - 13 November 2015
- • Present and discuss MSP experiences developed in the region of the Caribbean, the Gulf of Mexico and the tropical eastern Pacific, with focus in conservation and sustainable use of marine and coastal resources.
- • Building institutions for technical cooperation
- • Exchange knowledge about the different methodologies, procedures, and lessons learned.
- • Identify opportunities for inter-agency and international cooperation.
- • Development of a regional network of professionals contacts in the promotion and management of MSP processes.
- • Promote the use of MSP in the decision making processes for coastal development, including government, industry, conservation, recreation, energy, and cooperation between neighboring countries.
- • Governance, livelihoods and organizations
- • Reefs and associated ecosystems fisheries
- o Shallow and deep reef fishes
- o Snapper and grouper fisheries
- o Fish spawning aggregations
- o Lionfish and other invasive species
- o Queen conch, spiny lobster and other invertebrates
- • Marine Protected Areas Science and Management (especially biological connectivity of MPAs)
- • Pelagic ecosystem and recreational fisheries
- • Continental shelf ecosystem fisheries
- o Shrimp and demersal trawl fisheries
- • Habitats, climate change and coastal management
- o Essential fish habitats
- o Integrated coastal management
- o Climate change science and adaptation
- • Aquaculture
- • Title of film
- • Brief description of film (2-3 sentences)
- • Film makers(s)
- • Duration of film (specify) – Note films should be 10 minutes or less
- • Film still shot
- • Type of film:
- o Documentary: A non-fictional motion picture to document some aspect of reality.
- o Animation: A short, hand-drawn, stop motion, character animations or computer animated production.
- o New media: This includes Music Videos and Public Service Announcements (PSAs).
Some Interesting Historical Facts about Panama
(please go to VisitPanama for more information on Panama)
On April 15, 1856, an man named Jack Olivier, visibly intoxicated, along with three or four other fellow Americans, decided to buy a slice of watermelon from José Manuel Luna. Olivier proveeded to eat it, but then refused to pay its cost of a real (5 U.S. cents). This caused a big argument, which ended when Olivier pulled out a gun, shot a local man, and then fled the scene.
Lorenzo was a popular commander who led guerrillas against the Conservative government starting in October 1900. After the defeat of the Liberals at Calidonia Bridge, he set up barracks at Negrita (Coclé) and from there ventured to overtake various villages in the countryside and fight the government on the railway.
The logo of the conference was conceptualized by the MarViva Foundation and the International Maritime University of Panama (PICU) and was designed by Neiil Barrera Armstrong, graphic designer PICU. Neiil has a BA in Graphic Design from the University of Panama.
The logo represents the seas and oceans that encompasses both sides of the Central American isthmus, represented by the undulating figures in two shades of blue. These surround the silhouette of a fish, representing natural and fishery resources found in the Gulf of Mexico, the Caribbean and the Eastern Tropical Pacific. Thus, Panama not only provides the stage for international trade connectivity through its Canal, but also promotes regional initiatives for conservation and sustainable use. The 68ava annual GCFI, based in Panama City, is an exercise in much needed integration.
The theme of the Conference is "Two Oceans... Same Coastal Issues". The initiative is based on the interest of the membership of the GCFI to integrate their counterparts from the tropical eastern Pacific at the annual meetings of the Institute, with the aim of optimizing experiences and lessons learned, on the basis that our issues, challenges and opportunities are certainly comparable.
The 68th 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 about how to use sustainably use these resources. The emphasis will be on the practical, interdisciplinary, and ecosystem-based approaches of marine special planning (MSP) and how effective MSP can make a difference in both conservation and development. Addressing the issues of connectivity, fisheries management, conservation, and related issues at GCFI will aid in responding critical marine resource issues within the Wider Caribbean Region and the tropical eastern Pacific.
General Meeting Information
The 68th GCFI will be comprised of oral sessions and poster sessions. All oral presentations will be simultaneously interpreted into English and Spanish; French is pending funding). All oral presenters are required to submit a manuscript for publication in the Proceedings of the Gulf and Caribbean Fisheries Institute.
Fundación MarViva is sponsoring the thematic session entitled "Marine Spatial Planning (MSP): lessons learned and opportunities" to be held on Monday morning. The objective is to strengthen the effectiveness and sustainability of planning and management processes in coastal and marine areas of the eastern tropical Pacific, the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean. Contributions are invited for this session, within the following session objectives:
Keynote Speaker - Dr. John Ogden
GCFI is pleased to announce that the opening keynote address will be presented by Dr. John C. Ogden. Dr. Ogden retired in 2010 as Professor Emeritus within the Department of Integrative Biology at the University of South Florida. From 1988-2010 he was Director of the Florida Institute of Oceanography (FIO), a state-wide consortium of 20 agencies, universities, and marine laboratories whose members included all 11 State of Florida universities.
Dr. Ogden received his Ph.D. in Biological Sciences from Stanford University. After two years working on coral reef fishes at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Panama, he joined Fairleigh Dickinson University, helping to build the West Indies Laboratory (WIL) in St. Croix in the U. S. Virgin Islands during which time he began fieldwork on coral reefs and associated ecosystems. Over the years he has worked in many places in the tropics. He was Director of WIL from 1981-1988 and operated the saturation diving habitat Hydrolab for NOAA during this period. Unfortunately, the WIL was destroyed by Hurricane Hugo in 1989 and never rebuilt. He has published over 90 scientific papers, contributed to numerous books, and produced several television films on tropical ecosystems.
The focus of Dr. Ogden's professional activities for the last twenty-five years has been on studying coral reef and associated ecosystems and documenting their steady decline from human disturbances. This perspective has convinced him that scientists must become activists in translating scientific information into policy. To this end, he has served on numerous federal and state commissions dealing with coastal ecosystem management, coastal observing systems, marine protected areas, and coral reef conservation. He was a member of the founding Advisory Council of the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary and served for 6 years on the Marine Protected Area Federal Advisory Committee. Currently, he serves on the board of Sea Web and he is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science
The poster session/reception will be on the evening of 10 November 2015. Poster space is limited. See the poster specification guidelines for more information.
Abstracts for the 68th GCFI have been extended to 31 August 2015. Abstracts will be accepted in English, French, and Spanish. ALL ABSTRACTS MUST BE ACCOMPANIED BY ENGLISH, SPANISH AND FRENCH TITLES. Abstracts are only required in one of the three languages; titles must be in all three languages. Abstracts must not exceed 250 words (275 for Spanish and French). Abstracts must be submitted using the secure online abstract Submission Form found via the User Portal.
“Acceptance to present within an oral session requires submission of a full and complete manuscript or extended abstract in the proper format (MS Word and jpg or PowerPoint figures) prior to presentation at the meeting”. Poster presentations do not require submission of a manuscript although they are enthusiastically accepted. However, students wishing to compete for the student awards and who are presenting an oral OR poster presentation are required to submit a manuscript for publication in the GCFI Proceedings at the meeting. Manuscript preparation guidelines are available online (pdf).
The Book of Abstracts will be available online in page-flipping and PDF formats. No printed Book of Abstracts will be distributed at the conference.
Abstracts are due 15 August 2015
The program features multi-disciplinary sessions arranged in part by ecosystem type. The subject areas are no different from previous GCFI meetings but each session may have a mix of natural and social science, management and technology related to the ecosystem or fishery to achieve comprehensive information exchange. Papers and posters are solicited in the following areas, not exclusive of other subjects:
Abstracts are requested that identify strategies to improve fishery-independent and fishery-dependent data collection systems in the wider Caribbean. Areas of interest include: 1) innovative enhancements in data collection and survey design for monitoring living marine resources, 2) tradeoffs in the implementation of fishery dependent vs fishery independent sampling systems, 3) the ability to address uncertainty, bias and precision in stock assessments at variable levels of sampling resources, and 4) stakeholder engagement into optimizing data collection
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is sponsoring this session.
For those interested in participating as a convener for this session, please contact or,
Sharks, rays, skates and chimaeras (collectively known as chondrichthyans), are critical regulatory components of the marine ecosystem and yet populations of many species have seen dramatic declines due to overfishing. Effective management and conservation of these often vulnerable and migratory species in the Caribbean region has been hampered both by a lack of information on their life history, behaviour, diet, spatial ecology, fisheries, tourism and fisheries and the need for a strong coordinated regional network of actors working with sharks and rays. The symposium will bring together researchers, managers, conservationists and the private sector currently working with sharks and rays and provide a forum for the presentation of the most recent advances on chondrichthyan research and management in the Caribbean. A special volume of the peer reviewed journal PeerJ will publish symposia papers and poster presentations that meet peer-review criteria.
MarAlliance is sponsoring this session. For more information about the shark and ray session and publication, please contact
We invite all scientists studying lionfish biology, ecology, or management to submit abstracts for the annual Lionfish Symposium during the Gulf and Caribbean Fisheries Institute (GCFI) Annual Meeting in Panama, on 11November, 2015. We are excited to announce that this year's presenters will have the opportunity to submit their unpublished research for peer-review and potential inclusion in a special section of the journal Marine Ecology Progress Series (MEPS). To be eligible for submission to the special section of MEPS, full manuscripts must be submitted at GCFI in November, 2015.
For information about the lionfish session and publication, please contact Drs. or .
The purpose of this Lionfish Management Workshop (Special Session) is to bring together key managers, including fishermen, who have relevant lessons learnt, local or national strategies successfully implemented and useful tools to share between fishermen, resource managers and decision makers (support the "management decision"). Abstracts requested for this management workshop will focus on: best management tools and effective methods to promote, management and policy, socio-economic aspects to support decisions, main lessons learnt for control, local and national strategies adopted, possibly other marine invasive with similar patterns in the Caribbean, control deep populations and specific management in Marine Protected Areas and No-Take zones. This workshop will be built in close conjunction with the Lionfish Science Symposium (scheduled at the same GCFI) and complementarities will be the rule SPAW RAC and UNEP are sponsoring this session.
For those interested in participating as a convener for this session, please contact , SPAW-RAC Senior Project Coordinator /ICRI RLC Co-Head and/or , REEF CHECK DR Director /ICRI RLC Member.
A special GCFI workshop is scheduled on November 9-10 to identify and evaluate trade-offs for a variety of case studies with high, moderate, and low resources available for implementing fishery-independent vs fishery-dependent data sampling programs in the wider Caribbean region. Workshop participants will review data needs, cost-benefits and available resources related to implementing fishery-independent vs fishery-dependent data sampling programs. A report will be produced to summarize the workshop findings providing recommendations in support of ongoing efforts to improve stock assessments in the region. Workshop participation will be limited to 40 participants and pre-registration will be required. Interested participants are encouraged to forward a brief letter of interest to the workshop conveners describing what they would gain through participation in the workshop. Applicants who are directly involved in management, stock assessment, fisheries data analysis, survey design, or relevant stakeholder engagement will receive priority for workshop selection. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is sponsoring this special session.
Interested participants should submit a letter of interest to ,
The Caribbean possesses a patchwork of management and conservation approaches for sharks, rays, skates and chimaeras (collectively known as chondrichthyans). Management approaches have been developed following overfishing of populations of shark and rays species that share similar vulnerable life histories of longevity, slow growth, late maturity and low fecundity. And measures used include international conventions, regional agreements and national legislation that oversee species specific fishing bans, gear use and fishing seasons as well as marine protected areas. The success of these approaches in the Caribbean's large marine ecosystem is challenged by the lack of a cohesive baseline informing a network of relevant actors on the status of chondrichthyans, a clear standardized monitoring process that allows for cross site comparisons and a clear vision of expected outcomes. MarAlliance is hosting a day-long workshop will review management and conservation goals for sharks and rays in the Caribbean, gaps in knowledge of the region's chondrichthyans, currently used monitoring methodologies and capacities required to implement baselines and large-scale yet cost-effective monitoring. Workshop participants will identify critical processes needed for the planning, networking, capacity-building and implementation of a broad-scale baseline and long term standardized monitoring of Caribbean chondrichthyans to reach management and conservation goals. A selection of researchers, decision-makers, fishers, conservationists and members of the private sector currently working with chondrichthyans in the Caribbean will be invited to participate. MarAlliance is sponsoring this special session.
Interested participants please contact .
Introducing the Caribbean Protected Areas Gateway
The IUCN Biodiversity and Protected Areas Management Programme (BIOPAMA) will be hosting a lunch time session on Tuesday 10 November from 12:30 to 14:00. The Caribbean Protected Areas Gateway (Caribbean Gateway), a product of the BIOPAMA programme and located within the University of the West Indies under the Centre for Resource Management and Environmental Studies (CERMES), aims to integrate a diverse range of relevant protected area and biodiversity data and information across the region and will be a resource hub for facilitating and promoting viable decisions and policies by decision makers and resource managers for effective and sustainable management of protected areas and biodiversity. Join us for an interactive demonstration of the online data platform (Caribbean Reference Information System) which will focus on (i) the repository functions of the site to host a number of biodiversity, socio-economic and governance information, (ii) presenting recent analyses of the region's protected area coverage in relation to the Aichi targets and (iii) obtaining feedback for the continued development of the Caribbean Gateway.
Lunch will be provided for all attending and there are a limited number of places available so please reserve your spot now by contacting
BIOPAMA is an initiative of the ACP Group of States financially supported by the European Union's 10th European Development Fund (EDF) and is jointly implemented by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), the EC's Joint Research Centre (JRC), and the Multi-Donor ABS Capacity Development Initiative managed by Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH.
FISHERS FORUM 2015
The theme of the 2015 Fishers Forum, "Financing fisherfolk" seeks success stories of how fisherfolk organisations have achieved financial sustainability while following their own agendas and plans to serve their members. This contrasts with being highly dependent on external financing tied to aims that are not shared by the fisherfolk organisations. Fisherfolk organisations need not be entirely self-financing. However, they should not need to "follow the money" as a matter of survival to the detriment of their own ideals and objectives. The complementary requirement is that their financial partners respect and support the beneficiary fisherfolk organisations rather than seek to co-opt or coerce them through tied assistance. We need to examine and learn from the success stories generated by such partnerships.
The 2015 Fishers Forum brings together fisherfolk leaders and sources of financing to (a) exchange information on financing fisherfolk, (b) better understand how financial partnerships work, and (c) disseminate the success secrets of sustainable financing. This will assist the Fisheries for Fishers (F4F) initiative to contribute to sustainable financing throughout the Gulf and Caribbean. The Forum consists of a session in the main conference, presentation of the Gladding Memorial Award, a fishers' field trip, and a planning session for F4F. Forum outputs include a report and other GCFI communications.
For more information on the Gladding Mmorial Award, click here.
Fisher Field Trip (by invittion only)
The Fishers Forum field trip will be held on Tuesday 10 November. Fishers Forum participants will be treated to a guided tour to the port of Caimito, famous community not only for being the home port for much of the national artisanal and industrial fishing fleet, but also for being the birth place of a major league baseball star, Mariano Rivera (New York Yankees), son of a fisherman. During this field trip the participants will have the opportunity to discuss issues of common interest with local fishermen and enjoy any of the amenities offered by the local hosts. This tour has been conceptualized and organized by the National Foundation of Fisheries (FUNAPESCA) and the International Foundation of Fisheries (FIPESCA). More information will be available in upcoming ads.
Are you interested in submitting a short film for this year's CINEFISH film festival at GCFI? If so, please email the following information to CINEFISH at email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org:
Please note that films should be recorded in AVI format. The deadline for submission is 30 September 2015.
For more information or to submit an entry, please email and
Opportunities for Students
Outstanding Student Awards for Academic Achievement
Two awards are presented each year to students presenting oral or poster presentations at the annual conference. The winners receive travel to the following GCFI meeting up to $1,500. These awards are sponsored by NOAA's Caribbean Fisheries Management Council and consortium from the Gulf of Mexico Sea Grant Programs (Florida Sea Grant, Mississippi/Alabama Sea Grant, Louisiana Sea Grant and Texas Sea Grant programs. For more information, please follow this link.
Student Travel Awards
Each year, GCFI is pleased to offer two awards to assist with travel costs to the annual GCFI. These awards are sponsored by the Puerto Rico SeaGrant Program. For more information, please visit this link.
Ron Schmied Award
The Ron Schmied Scholarship, a GCFI initiative supported by the International Game Fish Association (IGFA) and private individuals, will be offered to a qualified graduate student in support of their travel to the 66th GCFI in Corpus Christi, Texas. The Scholarship is in the amount of $1,500. Graduate students with an interest in social, economic, biological, ecological, or management perspective on recreational fisheries will be eligible to apply for this scholarship. The deadline for students applying for the award and submitting accompanying abstract and all supporting paperwork is July 31. Students will be notified of acceptance/rejection of their application by September 1. Complete instructions and eligibility requirements for the Ron Schmied Scholarship are on the This page Students may apply for the Scholarship and for consideration for the Student Achievement Award in the same year. Students may also ask to be considered for the Ron Schmied Scholarship and a GCFI Travel Award in the same year, but will only be awarded one of these sources of funding.
SCRFA Award for Students of Fish Aggregations
The Science and Conservation of Fish Aggregations Association (SCRFA) will again offer a Student Travel Award of US$800 to a student in the Caribbean Region to attend the 68th GCFI, Ciudad de Panamá (Panamá). Originally formed in 2000 and known as the Society for the Conservation of Reef Fish Aggregations with the mission of promoting responsible stewardship of fish aggregations, in particular, reef fish spawning aggregations, the Society modified its name in 2012 to reflect its focus on science and the inclusion of all aggregating fish species. The SCRFA Student Travel Award is to encourage and help students to work in this important area and showcase their ideas and work at GCFI.
Applications should be submitted by 31 July 2015. Applications and further information enquiries are to be sent to (SCRFA Chair/CEO) or, visit: www.SCRFA.org. Additional information may be found on the SCRFA Student Awards page.
Book of Abstracts
The Book of Abstracts will only be provided online in page-flipping software with options to download in pdf formats, add notes, translate abstracts, and print pages. The Book of Abstracts will be available after the abstract submission deadline has passed.
The meeting venue will be the Hotel RIU Plaza Panama, Calle 50 con 53 este, Urb. Marbella, Ciudad de Panamá (Panamá). Phone (507) 378-9000, Toll Free 00 34 871 966296 Website: www.riuplaza.com.
This 4.5-star hotel, ideally located on Located in the heart of Panama City’s financial quarter, very near banks, stores and shopping malls. Hotel RIU Plaza Panama is ideal for enjoying all the charms Panama City has to offer. Visitors will appreciate its privileged location in the heart of the city. In the vicinity of the hotel you can enjoy of all the cultural and leisure activities Panama City has to offer, with endless shops, restaurants and museums. The hotel offers excellent cuisine. The restaurants are sophisticated environments that are complemented with unique foods and drinks that will cover all your needs. Located a just 20 minutes from the airport.
|Room Type||Rate + 10% tax|
3rd person in the room pays $27.50 per night (tax and breakfast included)
For Hotel reservations please complete the hotel booking form found at: https://www.riuplaza.com/en/formularios/gcfi_2015.jsp
GCFI and MarViva are please to offer 3 field trip options for Wednseday afternoon, 11 November. Because this is the first time that GCFI is on the Pacific coast, the field trips will be very different than those that have occurred in the Caribbean and Gulf. VIPEscapes. a local tour operator, is organizing the trips. They will also offer airport transfers as well as other alternatives tours to enjoy before, during or after the meeting . For information on each trip, please click on the link below. To make resrvations and make the corresponding reservations, contact VIPEscapes.
GCFI Field Trips
(11 November 2015)
With co-sponsorship from Tourism Authority of Panama (ATP, for its acronym in Spanish), tours to the following attractions will be offered on Wednesday afternoon (November 11):
|1||Miraflores Locks Visitor Center (90 seats): Miraflores offers artefacts, exhibits, interactive modules, video presentations, mock-ups and mechanical models of the Panama Canal, and is organized into four themed rooms: i) History of the Canal; ii) Water: Source of Life; iii) The Canal in Action, and iv) The Canal to the World. It features a large terrace from which, if in luck, you may observe passage of a vessel through this historic lock..|
|2||Colonial Panama (45 seats): Walk through the streets of Panama's colonial quarters where historic plazas, buildings and churches will take you on a passage through time. The visit includes Plaza de Francia (France Plaza), Las Bovedas (The Vaults), La Iglesia de San José (Saint Joseph's Church) home to an impressive golden altar, Arco Chato (Flat Arc) and la Catedral (the Cathedral), among others. Transportation by bus includes transit through Cintas Costeras II y III (Coastal Avenues II and III).|
|3||Old Panama and City Tour (45 seats): Visit the ruins of Panamá la Vieja (Old Panama), destroyed by the pirate Henry Morgan in 1671. Bus tour of the city includes transit through Cintas Costeras II y III (Coastal Avenues II and III), as well the Amador Causeway. The Causeway connects 3 islands and was built with earth moved during construction of the first Panama Canal.|
Each tour costs US$5 per person and must be paid at the registration desk onsite. If you are interested please book before October 1, indicating your tour of choice through: email@example.com (cc: Juan Posada). Capacity is limited but could be adjusted based on early expressions of interest.
Air Travel Discount
La Fundación MarViva has negotiated a 10% discount for participants (1 other passenger) travelling to Panama City with COPA Airlines (official airline of the event) from Central America, North America, South America and Caribbean. The discount applied on published air fares available at the time in which the participants make their reservations. Reservations must be made on the website of COPA Airlines.The reduced rate is applicable for travel on the dates from of the 04 November to 18 of November 2015. To receive the reduced rate, use the following discount code when booking your ticket: B6277.
Restrictions: This discount does not apply to promotional rates, Executive class nor may it be combined with any other promotions. The penalties for changes are governed by tariff regulations.
VIPEscapes offers optional shuttle service from Tocumen Airport to Hotel Riu Plaza and return. If interested, please email your request to: firstname.lastname@example.org. Please email your request to VIPEscapes with the following:
1. Email subject line: transportation reservation GCFI 68.
2. Email body: Name, date and time of arrival, airline and flight number.
|# people||$ (USD)|
Note: Reservations must be made before Friday October 30, 2015. After that date, each passenger will be responsible for his or her own transportation or subject to VIP Escapes' space availability and schedule.
Car Rental Discount
La Fundación MarViva has negotiated a discount on car rentals with Thrifty Car Rental Panama for the participants of the 68th annual meeting of the GFCI in Panama City. Reservations must be made by calling (507) 204-9525 / 204-9509 / 204-9529 / 6982-5406 or using the following email addresses: or / . The reduced rate is applicable for travel on the dates of the 04 - 18 November of 2015.
Visa Information - IMPORTANT
For the 68th GCFI Conference, all individuals travelling by sea or air will require a passport or other accepted official form of identification to enter the country.
There are a number of countries that require visas to travel to Ciudad de Panamá (Panamá). Please make contact with the local Ministry of Foreign Affairs or Immigration Department, for enquiries or to obtain one.
For requirements to enter Panama, please visit: http://www.atp.gob.pa/requisitos-de-entrada-panama
As the meeting approaches, more information about the venue and program will be posted on the conference web page.
Remember that advanced planning can smooth the visa application process for you. Apply for your visa well in advance of your travel!