African Journal of Marine Science

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Economic dimension of the collapse of the ‘false Epinephelus aeneus in a context of ineffective management of the small-scale fisheries in Senegal

D Thiao, C Chaboud, A Samba, F Laloë, PM Cury


Small-scale fisheries are often seen as a solution for ensuring sustainability in marine exploitation. They are viewed as a suitable alternative to industrial fisheries, particularly when considering their social and economic importance in developing countries. Here, we show that the booming small-scale fishery sector in Senegal, in the context of increasing foreign demand, has induced the collapse  of one of the most emblematic West African marine fish species, a large grouper Epinephelus aeneus, historically called ‘false cod’ by European fishers. The overexploitation of this species appears to be on account of the increasing effort sustained by a growing international demand and important subsidies, which resulted in a relative stability of the average economic yield per fishing trip and an incentive for continuing targeting this species to almost extinction. It is a critical time for addressing and mitigating the pressure of the small-scale fisheries to prevent declines of fish species that are highly valued by northern markets. A balance between conservation and exploitation is necessary to maintain ecological viability while considering the socio-economic importance of the small-scale fisheries. However, a new strategy is needed for conservation that will consider and articulate simultaneously the concerns regarding unmanaged and growing small-scale fisheries, rampant subsidies and increasing foreign demand.

Keywords: conservation, foreign demand, grouper, overexploitation, price

African Journal of Marine Science 2012, 34(3): 305–311

AJOL African Journals Online