Risky expeditions just to make a living
06 Sep 2016
Fishers based in the city typically travelled up to 120km offshore for up to six days with no safety gear
Fishers in Central Africa often cover hundreds of miles in very basic boats without engines searching for food to feed their families and make a living, says a new study.
Experts from the University of Exeter in the UK have tracked the journeys taken by fishers in the Republic of Congo as part of their work with the Congolese Government to protect the local marine environment and improve marine resource management.
Dr Kristian Metcalfe, from the Centre for Ecology and Conservation (CEC) at the University of Exeter, said: “We have found that fishers working in the city go further, faster, fish in deeper waters and for longer, whereas fishers in more rural areas are dependent on making daily fishing trips, and these are much more physically demanding.”
This is apparently the first time anyone has recorded in such detail how different types of fishers use the ocean in this part of Africa.
Fishers based in the city typically travelled up to 120km offshore for up to six days in wooden boats with small engines. They had no safety gear and the expeditions were highly risky. Fishers based in more rural areas undertook daily fishing trips up to 8km offshore in simple boats with no engine.
Many of these fisheries-dependent communities are angry that fishing boats, working illegally and sometimes in National Parks, are harming stocks by overfishing in areas they have traditionally used to provide food for their families and earn a living.
This work is part of a Darwin Initiative project, funded by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, to improve the livelihoods of fisheries-dependent communities and conserve marine biodiversity in Central Africa.
The study ‘Addressing uncertainty in marine resource management; combining community engagement and tracking technology to characterise human behavior’ is published in the Open Access Journal Conservation Letters.