Rehren, Jennifer, Wolff, Matthias and Jiddawi, Narriman (2018) Holistic assessment of Chwaka Bay's multi-gear fishery – Using a trophic modeling approach. Journal of Marine Systems, 180 . pp. 265-278. DOI

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East African coastal communities highly depend on marine resources for not just income but also protein supply. The multi-species, multi-gear nature of East African fisheries makes this type of fishery particularly difficult to manage, as there is a trade-off between maximizing total catch from all gears and species and minimizing overfishing of target species and the disintegration of the ecosystem. The use and spatio-temporal overlap of multiple gears in Chwaka Bay (Zanzibar) has led to severe conflicts between fishermen. There is a general concern of overfishing in the bay because of the widespread use of small mesh sizes and destructive gears such as dragnets and spear guns. We constructed an Ecopath food web model to describe the current trophic flow structure and fishing pattern of the bay. Based on this model, we explored the impact of different gears on the ecosystem and the fishing community in order to give advice for gear based management in the bay. Results indicate that Chwaka bay is a productive, shallow water system, with biomass concentrations around the first and second trophic level. The system is greatly bottom-up driven and dominated by primary producers and invertebrates. The trophic and network indicators as well as the community energetics characterize Chwaka Bay as relatively mature. Traps and dragnets have the strongest impact on the ecosystem and on the catches obtained by other gears. Both gears potentially destabilize the ecosystem by reducing the biomass of top-down controlling key species (including important herbivores of macroalgae). The dragnet fishery is the least profitable, but provides most jobs for the fishing community. Thus, a complete ban of dragnets in the bay would require the provision of alternative livelihoods. Due to the low resource biomass of fish in the bay and the indication of a loss of structural control of certain fish groups, Chwaka Bay does not seem to provide scope for further expansion of the fishery. Instead, we recommend an effort control of traps and a reduction in the use of dragnets, partially by redistributing them to the more profitable and less impacting gears (e.g. longlines, gillnets, handlines).

Document Type: Article
Programme Area: UNSPECIFIED
Research affiliation: Integrated Modelling > Resource Management
Refereed: Yes
Open Access Journal?: No
ISSN: 09247963
Date Deposited: 12 Jun 2019 11:13
Last Modified: 26 Mar 2024 13:28

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