UBC Faculty Research and Publications

Fisheries Catch Reconstructions in the Western Indian Ocean, 1950-2010 Le Manach, Frédéric; Pauly, D. (Daniel)


Although the 'national' catch reconstructions presented here emphasize the coastal and thus domestic catches of Western Indian Ocean countries, the attention of their fisheries ministries is often directed elsewhere, i.e., at the tuna fisheries that have made the Western Indian Ocean a bonanza for European (mainly Spanish and French) and East Asian fishing fleets.2 These fisheries are very lucrative, and the Western Indian Ocean countries that permit tuna vessels to operate in their Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZs) get a share — albeit small — from access fees. But they should not forget their domestic fisheries because they are the ones that ensure — or at least contribute — to the (sea)food security of their populations. The eleven chapters in this report document that this contribution to seafood security is much higher than previously assumed, but also that it is sharply declining in several countries. Thus, this report suggests that it is time to devote more attention to coastal fisheries and to rehabilitate them, e.g., as achieved in Southern Kenya, where strong, positive interactions between governments, scientists and fishers enabled the banning of gears not suitable for sustainable reef fisheries, and the establishment of marine reserves. Hopefully, initiatives such as these can be duplicated throughout the region.

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