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The artisanal shark fisheries in the Andavadoaka region of south west Madagascar: results from a year of catch monitoring

  • Monday, 17 March 2008 04:30
Humber, F., Godley, B., Harris, A., Pedron, S., Ramehery, V., Broderick, A. - Blue Ventures Conservation & Marine Turtle Research Group, Centre for Ecology & Conservation, University of Exeter.

Introduction

In 1987 exports of shark fin from Madagascar were just 3000 kg but by 1992 they were almost 50 metric tons. Exports have since declined
to around 15-20 metric tons per annum (Cooke 1997; 2003). The cause of this decline remains unclear, however it is thought likely that populations may be in severe decline as a result of overexploitation.

The number of sharks taken by the local fisheries remains un- quantified due to the fact that these are numerous small-scale artisanal fisheries located throughout Madagascar. Previous research on the artisanal fisheries of northwest Madagascar highlighted a decline in numbers and the collapse of the fishery (Earthwatch 2000).

In 2001, fishermen were able to sell fins to collectors up to  $70/kg for the highest grade fins (McVean 2002). In October 2006, the first pilot phase of a shark research and conservation programme was initiated by Blue Ventures working in collaboration with Madagascar’s national research institute, Institut Halieutique et des Sciences Marines, in the region of Andavadoaka in the remote southwest of Madagascar. This research  programme is monitoring the status of sharks fisheries in 12 villages, inhabited by indigenous semi-nomadic Vezo fishing communities, along over 50km of coastline.