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The Emperors new study!

News item submitted by Frontier
News item dated 12 Mar 2010

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The shy and beautiful emperor fish can be admired around the shores of our Madagascar Marine Camp. However, the Emperor fish also form a large component of commercial, recreational and artisanal fisheries. There has been a steady increase in the reported total world catch over the last twenty years, with emperor fish being of primary importance to fisheries in certain countries. In the western Indian Ocean alone they make up the greatest percentage of commercial catch, with fishing methods ranging from handlines, droplines and traps to gill nets. The Emperor fish around Madagascar are not an exception.

An exciting new socio-economic study was designed by Frontier to gather data on the population of emperor fish in Antsiranana Bay in relation to the fishing sites in order to gain a better understanding of the fisheries industry within the bay. This involves underwater surveys and interviews with local fishermen from the village of Antsisikala to gain an overall view of the Emperor fish current status.

Sadly, it was made clear from the interviews that the number of Emperor fish within the bay has seriously declined in the last 10-15 years. It is therefore imperative that this study continues to establish temporal datasets and assess their rate of decline. The long term objective of this study aims to design an appropriate management scheme, incorporating the economic value of this species to the local people. This will involve raising awareness through education and workshops held by Frontier staff and Volunteers. Working alongside the local people will help ensure the survival of Emperor fish within Antsiranana bay.

Authors: Hannah Burton and Ed Cremin

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