In Photos: The rise of shark fishing off the Congolese coast | Latest News Table

In Photos: The rise of shark fishing off the Congolese coast

Pointe-Noire, Republic of the Congo – With the rise of business fishing off the Congolese coast, artisanal fishing crews have more and more targeted on shark fishing to make a dwelling in recent times.

There are experiences of crews fishing for sharks on pirogues – slim, canoe-like boats – within the space courting to the Nineteen Eighties however the phenomenon has elevated steadily prior to now 20 years, with activists warning that the apply is changing into unsustainable.

Activists say the rise of specialized shark fishing has been pushed by a number of components.

The development of oil infrastructure offshore has diminished the areas the place artisanal crews can fish. The arrival of business fishing trawlers has meant higher competitors for fish. And the persevering with demand for shark fins in elements of Asia could make shark fishing profitable.

The artisanal shark fishers go far out to sea, throwing nets overboard simply earlier than sundown after which attracting sharks with bait and blood throughout the night time.

On most days, lots of of sharks are dumped alongside the seashore of Songolo within the fishing district of Pointe-Noire, the place they’re bought on the spot. Many are hammerhead, bigeye thresher, silky and mako sharks – all of that are endangered species.

Jean-Michel Dziengue, a Congolese activist of the environmental NGO Bouée Couronne, mentioned that a big proportion of the sharks caught are small or juvenile.

“The pattern impacts all the fish useful resource. In markets, fish are getting smaller and smaller. It’s an indication that persons are fishing in spawning areas,” he mentioned.

In line with a 2017 survey by the Site visitors NGO, 95 p.c of the sharks caught within the Republic of the Congo (1,766,589 kg) got here from pirogues of artisanal fishermen – accounting for one-third of their annual catch.

Dozens of various shark species are caught within the nation, together with seven listed on Appendix II of the Conference on Worldwide Commerce in Endangered Species (CITES) and thought of endangered by the Worldwide Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

The rise within the variety of pirogues engaged completely in shark fishing within the Congo has been primarily brought on by the rise of business fishing, in keeping with Dziengue.

“First, fishing areas have been diminished by two-thirds by offshore oil exploitation. Then overseas industrial vessels elevated significantly after 2005 once they jumped from 24 to greater than 70 in just some years, and beginning fishing with out limits even in spawning areas. The artisanal fishermen have been slowly pushed right into a nook,” he mentioned.

In line with Site visitors, in a maritime space the place a most of 30 licences must be issued to industrial vessels, as many as 110 vessels have been crusing in 2018. This quantity has fallen to about 80 vessels, in keeping with Congolese authorities.

Dziengue mentioned that authorities lack the means to implement legal guidelines to forestall overfishing by industrial trawlers. “The authorities have just one patrol boat for all the coast,” he added.

In line with a latest research revealed by Present Biology, one-third of the world’s shark and ray species are liable to extinction as a consequence of overfishing and the variety of species of sharks and rays dealing with “world extinction disaster” doubled in a decade.

Senegalese shark biologist Mika Samba Diop informed Al Jazeera that sharks have been starting to vanish from African seas wherein they have been beforehand widespread.

“Sharks are ‘the gendarmes’ of the marine ecosystem steadiness, they’re lengthy lived however have weak fecundity. If they’re fished intensively, extreme injury is generated,” he mentioned.

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