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Madagascar marine resources plundered by international seafood markets
Date:6/17/2011

Fish catches in Madagascar over the last half-century are double the official reports, and much of that fish is being caught by unregulated traditional fishers or accessed cheaply by foreign fishing vessels. Seafood exports from Madagascar often end up in a European recipe, but are a recipe for political unrest at home, where two-thirds of the population face hunger.

These are the findings of a recent study led by researchers from the University of British Columbia's Sea Around Us Project in collaboration with the Madagascar-based conservation organisation Blue Ventures. The research, published online this week in the journal Marine Policy, used existing studies and local knowledge to estimate total fisheries catches between 1950 and 2008.

Link to online version: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0308597X11000960

Foreign fishing fleets from Europe and Asia are placing huge pressure on Madagascar's fisheries by catching nearly 80,000 tonnes of seafood each year -- almost the same amount as local fishermen -- and are exacerbating the impact of overfishing at local levels. Consequently, catches of several key species groups seem to be in decline, including mostly exported shrimp, shark and sea cucumber.

The findings underline the importance of protecting local fisheries for food security through stronger fisheries management. Madagascar is the world's fourth largest island and is home to some of the world's poorest people. Two-thirds of the country's population is food insecure. Yet, the country has three monitoring vessels and nine speedboats to protect its waters from illegal fishing boats and monitor domestic fisheries.

"Both increasing pressure by local fishing communities and demand from the international market could accelerate the downward trends we see in Madagascar's fisheries," says Frdric Le Manach,
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Contact: Dirk Zeller
d.zeller@fisheries.ubc.ca
604-822-1950
University of British Columbia
Source:Eurekalert

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