The key role of the Northern Mozambique Channel for Indian Ocean tropical tuna fisheries

Type Article
Date 2019-09
Language English
Author(s) Chassot Emmanuel1, 2, Bodin Nathalie1, Sardenne Fany3, Obura DavidORCID4
Affiliation(s) 1 : Seychelles Fishing Author, POB 449, Victoria, Mahe, Seychelles.
2 : Univ Montpellier, MARBEC, CNRS, Ifremer,IRD, Victoria, Seychelles.
3 : Fisheries & Oceans Canada, Maurice Lamontagne Inst, Mont Joli, PQ, Canada.
4 : CORDIO East Africa, Mombasa, Kenya.
Source Reviews In Fish Biology And Fisheries (0960-3166) (Springer), 2019-09 , Vol. 29 , N. 3 , P. 613-638
DOI 10.1007/s11160-019-09569-9
WOS© Times Cited 4
Keyword(s) Bigeye, Fisheries management, Mozambique Channel, Skipjack, Yellowfin
Abstract The Northern Mozambique Channel (NMC) is a tropical area of similar to 1 million km(2) where pelagic fisheries supply proteins to more than 9 million people living in Comoros, Mayotte, and along the coasts of Mozambique, Tanzania and Madagascar. Although uncertain, statistics suggest that about 20,000 mt of tropical tuna and other pelagic fish are annually caught by artisanal fisheries in the area. The NMC is also a major seasonal fishing ground for high-seas fleets that export an annual average catch of more than 20,000 mt to tuna can and sashimi markets of high-income countries for a value estimated to be more than 100 million USD. The fisheries productivity of the NMC appears to be highly variable in relation to strong annual and seasonal variability in oceanographic conditions. Our review shows that the NMC is a key feeding area for tropical tunas and a major spawning area for skipjack tuna thanks to warm waters and strong mesoscale activity that results in the enrichment of surface waters and efficient energy transfers enabled by short food chains. Projections of climate models under future warming scenarios predict some strong changes in the oceanographic conditions of the NMC which has already experienced substantial warming over the last decades. Changes in the pelagic ecosystem of the NMC could have dramatic consequences on the coastal populations that are expected to increase towards 100 million people by 2100. Improving monitoring systems and collecting information on the socio-economics of coastal fisheries is crucial to assess the dependence of NMC populations on tuna resources and empower the countries to more involvement in the management of tuna stocks.
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