Bycatch of Protected Megafauna in the Artisanal Coastal Fishery of Mayotte Island, Mozambique Channel
AbstractIn Mayotte, in July 2007 interviews were conducted on 406 fishermen to assess the bycatch issue on marine megafauna. Seventy-eight fishermen said they caught at least one turtle so far that year, of which twelve were deliberate and 66 accidental. Of the turtle bycaught, 59 were released alive, six released dead and one eaten or sold. Nine fishermen caught at least one dugong during their life time, of which seven were accidental and two deliberate catches. All the animals were kept for meat consumption. Ten fishermen had caught one dolphin accidentally, with all animals released: two dead and eight alive. The handline was responsible for 48 turtle bycatches and three dolphin bycatches. The gillnet was responsible for 12 turtle bycatches, all the dugong catches and four dolphin bycatches. The estimation of bycatch mortality gave a range of 111 to 256 individuals year-1 for turtles, and very low rates (<<1 ind.year-1) for dolphins and dugong. These rates may be highly significant for small populations of hawksbill turtles and dugongs. Most of the fishermen knew the species were protected by law but did not seem to understand the issues behind this legislation. Management measures are proposed to deal with these important issues.
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