African Journal of Marine Science

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A first description of the artisanal shark fishery in northern Madagascar: implications for management

L Robinson, WHH Sauer


In the past two decades, small, targeted artisanal shark fisheries have developed in the extreme north of Madagascar, largely in response to the shark fin trade. Few studies have been undertaken to assess the biological characteristics and impact of these fisheries. Here, we developed a profile of the fishery in the region of Antsiranana for the period 2001–2004. A total of 23 elasmobranch species were identified. Carcharhinidae accounted for 69% with Carcharhinus amblyrhynchos most commonly captured, followed by Carcharhinus sorrah, Loxodon macrorhinus and  Triaenodon obesus. Sphyrnidae accounted for 24% of the catch, with Sphyrna lewini most commonly captured. The presence of gravid females in gillnet catches from shallow coastal waters, combined with the vulnerable conservation status of some of the primary catch species, as well as the heavy exploitation of shark resources, suggests that this level of fishing may be unsustainable. Urgent management intervention is required, but it must take into consideration the vulnerable social and economic status of the coastal communities in the area.

Keywords: artisanal shark fisheries, livelihoods, sharks

African Journal of Marine Science 2013, 35(1): 9–15
AJOL African Journals Online