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Study on status and trends of octopus fisheries in the Western Indian Ocean

Supervisor: Olivia Kemp
Location: desk (UK) and/or desk (Madagascar)
Duration: 2-4 months

Invertebrate fisheries throughout the Western Indian Ocean play an important role in income generation. Reef gleaning is a low cost method of fishing and is accessible to all sectors of the population. In the octopus fishery of southwest Madagascar fishers are predominantly female and the fishery brings direct economic benefit to communities. To date there has been limited data sharing between countries to assess the overall importance of the octopus fishery throughout the WIO region.

This study will require a significant literature search and networking with fishery managers and government data services throughout the region to assess the importance of the fishery in all the countries. Genetic studies conducted in 2009 indicate that while the southwest population is largely a single population, there is also evidence of some effective gene flow between Madagascar and Rodrigues, which is typical of a widespread and abundant marine species with a dispersing larval stage such as octopus. Having established there is some connection between octopus populations in Madagascar and Rodrigues it is possible that all the octopus in the WIO region have some level of connectedness making a complete understanding of the status and trends of octopus fisheries in all countries of great importance to all fisheries managers. Data obtained during this study will be analysed to look for any similar patterns in the octopus fisheries and to document regional trends.

Independent research projects (2013-2014) - Madagascar

Independent research projects (2013-2014) - Belize