Conservation Biology

Friday, March 09, 2007

CONSERVATION OF FISHES IN SOUTH AFRICA

Many people in South Africa rely in the ocean for their food, extraction of minerals and recreation (1). This reliance by people in the marine food puts the oceans under pressures which also changes how the marine ecosystem functions (1). In South Africa unauthorized hunting of the wild animals on land is restricted compared to hunting of the marine organisms. The major threat in the marine environment in South Africa is the exploitation of the marine organisms. Many fishing industries are faced with uncertainty if the pressure in the fishing of hakes is not reduced (3). Conservation of the marine organisms needs to be done through public awareness. The ocean provides more than 200 million people with jobs around the world (2). The biodiversity of the ocean and its natural resources is not well managed which makes it unsustainable.

It is estimated that 95 million tons of fishes are caught per year in South Africa (1). The Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) declared that nine of the sixteen major fishing zones are overfishing (1). The removal of large amount of fish in the ocean disrupts the marine ecosystem in all levels and disturbs both physical and biological environment (1). The South African government stress the sustainable catches of fish as primary objective without considering the environment and the species which are not targeted. The primary objective of catching fishes has failed all around the world because of the decrease in the number of fish. As fish depend on other organisms in the marine ecosystem to maintain its productive capability, the survival of other organisms such as algae is not taken into consideration by managers (1). This will have negative impacts if the structure of the ecology and its process which supports the production stock is affected by overfishing.

Nearly all parts of the marine environments are affected by the human activities. People who are catching fishes are now targeting fishes which are found in deep sea compared to the off-shore fishing (2). Targeting of the fishes in the deep water is attributed to the fact that, fishes in the shallow water have been depleted. Natural refuges are now becoming scarce in the coastal environment because of the improvement of technology and the access of the human beings (1). Some of the human activities, exploitation, disturbance and pollution in the ecosystem are now reduced in the Proclamation of Marine protected areas (MPAs) (1). The main function of the MPAs is to preserve the representatives of the community of the species into its natural states (1). The MPAs help in the conservation of the marine species by providing sites which are not disturbed with monitoring, education, tourism and the research.

The management of catching fishes in South Africa remain that of the single species approach which often reduces the mortality which occurs accidentally and dumping (1). The method of fishing which is used in the catching of the fishes is known as bottom-trawl which is responsible in the high number of catches and fisheries in South Africa. These trawlers operate in the area of high diversity and this result in the catches of the unwanted species. It is fortunate that nowadays trawlers are equipped with excluders which reduce catching of the fishes which have some fins (1). Other trawlers for catching fishes have small sizes of meshes as to allow small species which are catched accidentally to escape (2).


REFERENCES

1. Attwood, C. L. Moloney, C. L. Stenton-Dozey, J. Jackson, L. F. Heydorn, A. E. F. and Probyn, T. A. 2000. Marine biology. [Online]. [Cited 2007 March 05]: Available: http://www.nrf.ac.za/publications/marinerep/conserve.htm

2. Van Der Elst, R. 2002. Harvesting nature’s bounty wisely: Serial overfishing depletes species. [Online]. [Cited 2007 March 06]: Available from: http://www.scienceinafrica.co.za/2002/september/overfish.htm

3. Morris, R. 2006. Consultant warns on overfishing of hake. [Online]. [Cited 2007 March 05]: Available from: http://www.busrep.co.za/index.php?fSectionId=561&fArticleId=3444466


Peter Muvhali
CSIR PTA
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Tell no: 012 8142133
Fax: 012 8423676
E-mail: smuvhali@csir.co.za
URL: http://www.blogsoccer-peter.bogspot.com

7 Comments:

  • Hi Peter

    Did you know that, the greater the number of population led to decrease number of fishes? Population increases the level of water pollution as they change the quality of water which is harmful on aquatic species such as Fishes. Fishes are facing threats in South Africa due to habitat destruction and the pollution caused by activities practiced by humans on land.

    Peter in some areas fishes are facing threats due to global climate change that have dramatically affect marine fisheries. Did you know that fish production itself can have significant effects on coastal habitat? and there is a need for the scientists to identify and come up with the policy solution that are related to coastal area degradation, water pollution and the depletion of fishes. Currently killing of the fishes is much faster than they are capable of reproduce.

    Peter I think there is a need for researches in many areas. These researches include the characteristics of harvested species. The research on ecological relationships in the marine environment and research on direct and indirect impacts of harvest on target and nontarget species of fish and other marine wildlife are also needed.

    The research about the nature and extent of pollution impacts on fish
    as well as the research on nature and extent of habitat impacts on fish are also important.
    There is a need for the scientists to do research on the impacts of global climate change on marine ecosystems in general. Ok peter these are few areas which need to be researched in futures so that they will be reduction in pollution of marine ecosystem in South Africa.

    By Blogger linette, at March 19, 2007 3:05 PM  

  • Nice topic, I am concern about the whole marine resources. Most people have permits and authorization to marine recourses but access of harvesting these resources is unequal. To prevent over fishing all people must have equal access.The other thing is that people who will be found harvesting marine resources without having permits must be arrested and (pay money)change certain amount for fine. To those who have permit, they have to be given restricted time such as to harvest marine resources once after four months from 5 am to 8 am. So between these months, marine resources will get chance to reproduce

    By Blogger Masingita Lizzy, at March 19, 2007 3:32 PM  

  • One more is thing is that fishing industry is facing threats the whole world. I read an article from National Geography new site and the article says Western Europe fishing is facing the same threats. Vincente Virue (fisherman in Western Europe) said that “overfishing has caused fish populations and catches to plummet”.

    You can use the link below for more information.

    http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2001/06/0626_wireeuropefishing.html

    By Blogger Masingita Lizzy, at March 19, 2007 4:18 PM  

  • One more thing is that fishing industry is facing threats the whole world. I read an article from National Geography new site and the article says Western Europe fishing is facing the same threats. Vincente Virue (fisherman in Western Europe) said that “overfishing has caused fish populations and catches to plummet”.

    You can use the link below for more information.

    http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2001/06/0626_wireeuropefishing.htm

    By Blogger Masingita Lizzy, at March 22, 2007 4:14 PM  

  • Glenn SantFisheries indicated that “the world fisheries need to be brought into control by Regional Fisheries Management Organisations (intergovernmental organisation who regulate fishing activities across the world ocean) or we are going to see more and more species added to the list of over fished species facing extinction” (1). International cooperation is very important to attempt this global problem. Trade Records Analysis of Flora and Fauna (TRAFFIC) indicated that there has never been a more critical need to reinforce fisheries management measure internationally (1).

    Method taboo (regulate the methods and technique for species extraction) contribute to the conservation of fish. In Vanuata, fishing methods such as spear fishing at night, and drop line fishing are banned. In Tuvalu atolls methods such as monofilament gill nets, lantern for dip-netting of flying fish and pearl shell lures equipped with steel hook were banned by taboo because these methods may cause over fishing (2).

    1. http://www.traffic.org/RenderPage.action?CategoryId=1766
    2. http://www.findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_qa3970/is_200001/ai_n8896402/pg_7

    By Blogger Kedibone, at March 23, 2007 1:24 PM  

  • sorry for posting two(same) comments.

    By Blogger Masingita Lizzy, at March 23, 2007 1:59 PM  

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