Comparative fishery yields of African Large Marine Ecosystems

Dirk Zeller, Lincoln Hood, Maria L.Deng Palomares, Ussif Rashid Sumaila, Myriam Khalfallah, Dyhia Belhabib, Jessika Woroniak, Daniel Pauly

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7 Citations (Web of Science)


Fisheries around Africa have historically suffered from the erroneous perception that there is little to no data on or knowledge about these activities, beyond the sometimes questionable or sparse official reported capture statistics. However, concerted efforts by scientists in and associated with Africa have changed this over the last decades. This includes the decade long efforts of the global Sea Around Us initiative to reconstruct comprehensive estimates of total fisheries catches in the waters of each African country, and create indicators using these data. Here, we build on these and other efforts, and review the main catch features, and landed values over the last 65 years generated by the fisheries in the seven Large Marine Ecosystems (LMEs) that surround the African continent, i.e., Canary Current, Guinea Current, Benguela Current, Agulhas Current, Somali Coastal Current, Red Sea, and Mediterranean Sea LMEs. Note that the small African coastal area (north coast of Somalia and Djibouti) covered by the Arabian Sea LME is excluded here due to its negligible contribution to the Arabian Sea LME. We illustrate which countries or geographic regions extract catches in each LME, with focus on African versus non-African fishing countries; examine the potential for fishing down the food web in each LME; as well as the time trends in the status of stocks. Finally, we present comprehensive economic data describing the fisheries around Africa. Jointly, these data and indicators suggest that the fisheries around Africa have reached their peak, and in many cases, moved beyond peak catches to a declining trend. Indeed, these fisheries mostly rely on overfished resources in all LMEs. Thus, better management, monitoring, compliance and policy efforts are needed around Africa, with a strong emphasis on regional cooperation, to help rebuild their stocks. Clearly, this is a challenging prospect, but seems to be the only rational way to maintain what is, for Africa, a crucial economic resource as well as food security base. © 2020
Original languageEnglish
Article number100543
JournalEnvironmental Development
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2020


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