African Journal of Marine Science

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Estimating the unreported catch of Eritrean Red Sea fisheries

D Tesfamichael, TJ Pitcher


Unreported catches from three major fisheries in the Eritrean Red Sea were investigated in order to estimate the impact of the total extraction of fish from the ecosystem, which will help the assessment of the resource and its management. The fisheries target small pelagics, demersal finfish and shrimps, and were chosen for their major contribution to the total Eritrean catch, economic importance and/or significant contribution to unreported catch. The analysis covers the period from 1950 to 2004, subdivided into five-year blocks. Factors that provide incentives to fishers to misreport were obtained by examining the historical development of the fisheries; analysis was based on interpolations, guided by these incentives, between independent quantitative estimates of unreported catch (‘anchor points'). Errors were estimated using a Monte Carlo sampling technique. The fishery industry in Eritrea operated smoothly from the mid-1950s to the end of 1960s, when it was disrupted by political instability. Fishing operations were normalised again at the beginning of the 1990s. Of the three fisheries, the small pelagic fishery has the least unreported catch — a maximum of 5% of the total extracted. The total catch from the three fisheries has been under-reported on average by 21%.

Keywords: Eritrean fisheries, interpolation, Red Sea, time-series catch, unreported catch

African Journal of Marine Science 2007 29(1): 55–63
AJOL African Journals Online