Regional State of the Coast Report

Western Indian Ocean

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The Regional State of Coast Report for the western Indian Ocean (WIO) is the first comprehensive regional synthesis to provide insights into the enormous economic potential around the WIO, the consequential demand for marine ecosystem goods and services to match the increasing human population, the pace and scale of environmental changes taking place in the region and the opportunities to avoid serious degradation in one of the world’s unique and highly biodiverse oceans.



Capture fisheries

The Southwest (SW) Indian Ocean supports a myriad of capture fisheries, along the coasts of eastern Africa and Madagascar, around small island states such as Mauritius, Seychelles and Comoros, and on shallow offshore banks such as the Mascarene Plateau. Capture fisheries in this region are typically categorized into artisanal (also called subsistence, traditional or small-scale commercial) and industrial (or semi-industrial) sectors. Artisanal fisheries comprise fishing households with small amounts of capital and access to simple gear that can be used from the shore or small boats. A mixed basket of invertebrate and fish species is captured, and the distinction between target and bycatch is vague. Fishing gear includes sticks, spears or harpoons, nets (cast, drag, mosquito, seine and gillnets), hand-and longlines with hooks, and several trap types (Jiddawi and Öhman 2002, Fulanda and others, 2011). Boats are traditional dugouts and small crafts constructed of planks and propelled by sail, with more modern boats with outboard engines and larger dhows with lateens and inboard engines for fishing further offshore (Fulanda and others, 2011, Munga and others, 2014). Artisanal fisheries dominate the SW Indian Ocean by numbers of fishers and gears, (van der Elst and others, 2005, www.wiofish.org), but because fishers are widely dispersed and some groups migrate to follow fish concentrations (Fulanda and others, 2009), records of fishing effort and catches are incomplete.


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