The endangered status of dugongs Dugong dugon around Mayotte (East Africa, Mozambique Channel) assessed through interview surveys
AbstractThe status of dugongs Dugong dugon around Mayotte in the Mozambique Channel was assessed from interviews with artisanal fishers conducted in 2007, along with the collation of opportunistic sighting information from tour operators between 2002 and 2011. In all, 106 of the 406 fishers interviewed (26%) had observed a live dugong at least once during their lifetime, and among these sightings 18 were made in 2007. Nine fishers stated that they observed on one occasion people selling dugong meat on the beach of their village, six fishers admitted that they caught a dugong themselves and three had caught more than one dugong during their lifetime. Tour operators reported 78 dugong sightings between 2002 and 2011, and among these 15 were cow–calf pairs. Since the late 1990s, no deliberate hunting was reported but four bycatch deaths due to entanglement in artisanal fishing nets were reported. We concluded that the current dugong population size is likely to be small but reproduction still occurs and that entanglement in artisanal fishing nets remains the major threat to the species in Mayotte.
Keywords: bycatch, conservation, sirenians, South-West Indian Ocean
African Journal of Marine Science 2013, 35(1): 111–116