East Africa’s Reef Fish Assessed For Fisheries Management

East Africa’s Reef Fish Assessed For Fisheries Management

From All Africa.

A first-ever assessment of coral reef fish along the coast of Mozambique, Tanzania and Kenya will help officials there improve fisheries management, conservation and policy.

Activities such as blast fishing are causing massive degradation of the reefs, according to a report in All Africa.

Researchers are analyzing data on the coral reef and fish communities of the East African coastline as part of a comprehensive effort to provide the region’s first ever baseline for future conservation.

Scientists with the East African Marine Transect conducted a four-month study from November to March.

The coral reef mapping will help in planning and managing resources, says Valentine Ochanda, head of the Department of Environment and Health Sciences at the Technical University of Kenya.

“With information at hand, these areas can be protected from activities that degrade the environment, for instance blast fishing, which is causing massive degradation of these ecosystems and affecting availability of fish,” she said. “The information will also guide the fishing industry on the fishing zones within these protected areas, which are important habitats for marine organisms.”

The trans-boundary nature of coral reefs can be a recipe for disaster, Ochanda said. Countries have different environmental and fish management regulations, with some areas protected in one country while being degraded by an immediate neighbor.

Read more at All Africa.