Acoustic monitoring to document the spatial distribution and hotspots of blast fishing in Tanzania

Last modified: 
December 13, 2019 - 7:49pm
Type: Journal Article
Year of publication: 2017
Date published: 12/2017
Authors: Gill Braulik, Anja Wittich, Jamie Macaulay, Magreth Kasuga, Jonathan Gordon, Tim Davenport, Douglas Gillespie
Journal title: Marine Pollution Bulletin
Volume: 125
Issue: 1-2
Pages: 360 - 366
ISSN: 0025326X

Destructive fishing using explosives occurs in a number of countries worldwide, negatively impacting coral reefs and fisheries on which millions of people rely. Documenting, quantifying and combating the problem has proved problematic. In March–April 2015 231 h of acoustic data were collected over 2692 km of systematically laid transects along the entire coast of Tanzania. A total of 318 blasts were confirmed using a combination of manual and supervised semi-autonomous detection. Blasts were detected along the entire coastline, but almost 62% were within 80 km of Dar es Salaam, where blast frequency reached almost 10 blasts/h. This study is one of the first to use acoustic monitoring to provide a spatial assessment of the intensity of blast fishing. This can be a useful tool that can provide reliable data to define hotspots where the activity is concentrated and determine where enforcement should be focused for maximum impact.

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