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Mizrahi M.,Omnibus Business Center | Chapman J.K.,Omnibus Business Center | Gough C.L.A.,Omnibus Business Center | Humber F.,Omnibus Business Center | Anderson L.G.,Bath
Management of Biological Invasions | Year: 2017

With a voracious appetite for juvenile fish and invertebrates, invasive alien red lionfish (Pterois volitans) constitute one of the greatest threats to the Caribbean’s coral reefs. Although the eradication of lionfish is no longer considered possible, population suppression to site-specific densities can allow native fish populations to recover. Understanding the diet of lionfish in invaded areas is critical to understanding local impacts they pose to coral reef communities. This study explored the diet of lionfish in the northern end of the Belize Barrier Reef and tested whether biological variables (size, sex or reproductive stage) affect the diversity and/or abundance of prey species consumed. Between 2011 and 2014, 1023 lionfish were dissected and their gut contents analysed in the Bacalar Chico Marine Reserve. Gut contents analyses revealed that large sized lionfish consumed the highest abundance of prey (Mean (M)= 3.27 prey items) compared to small (M= 1.74 prey items) and medium (M= 3.15 prey items) lionfish, and that reproductive females consumed a higher abundance of prey (M= 3.66) compared to non-reproductive females of the same size (M= 2.85). As we found that medium and large lionfish are generalist predators and feed on a diverse assemblage of prey items, the effects of lionfish on the biomass of any one species may be reduced. This may enable individual prey species to have relatively stable abundances, although this hypothesis bears further testing. If management efforts are focused on improving a site-specific population of an individual prey species, such as an endemic or threatened fish, it is important to include removal efforts of small lionfish, particularly if they inhabit the same niche habitat. However, we recommend that existing lionfish focused cull dives continue using non-size discriminatory methods in order to account for site-specific, ecologically and commercially important prey items and to deter the likelihood of a successful invasion. © 2017 The Author(s) and REABIC.

Ateweberhan M.,Omnibus Business Center | Ateweberhan M.,University of Warwick | Rougier A.,Omnibus Business Center | Rakotomahazo C.,Omnibus Business Center
Journal of Applied Phycology | Year: 2015

A monitoring programme was established in order to support community-based seaweed farming in south-west Madagascar by providing scientific information on the effects of physico-chemical and health factors influencing the growth of Kappaphycus alvarezii (cottonii). Six aquaculture site configurations were studied. These consisted of high and low flow locations, off-bottom and long-line farming techniques and different benthic/substrate types. At each site, a number of growth and health variables were monitored monthly between January 2012 and March 2013 on 30 randomly selected thalli. Variables included thallus-level growth, intensity of epiphyte and disease infection, intensity of fish and sea urchin grazing and cover of pest seaweed and sediment. The following key environmental variables were also monitored at the site level: water temperature, irradiance, salinity, water depth, wave action, pH and oxygen content. Overall average relative growth rate of K. alvarezii in the region was 4.5 ± 0.06 % day−1 and varied by site and season. Generally, growth rate was higher during the winter season (April–August, 5.04 ± 0.31 % day−1) than in the summer (3.90 ± 0.28 % day−1). The long-line farming technique provided higher growth (5.46 ± 0.09 % day−1) than the off-bottom technique (3.99 ± 0.07 % day−1). Thallus-level analysis showed that fish grazing, epiphyte cover, sediment cover and disease had significant negative correlations with growth, and the four variables were positively correlated. Site-level analysis on the effects of physico-chemical and health factors showed that sedimentation, daily maximum of water temperature and variability, and interactions between these factors were the main determinants of growth. Growth was lower at high sedimentation levels and higher values of maximum temperature and temperature variation. Our findings highlight that farming should focus mainly in the cold season and long-line technique in order to limit the major ecological constraints encountered and maintain growth and production at sustainable levels. © 2014, Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht.

Le Manach F.,University of British Columbia | Le Manach F.,IRD Montpellier | Andriamahefazafy M.,Omnibus Business Center | Harper S.,University of British Columbia | And 5 more authors.
Marine Policy | Year: 2013

The reform of the European Union's Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) is focusing attention on EU distant water fishing activities, including the agreements signed with developing coastal states. Here, the EU's fishing agreement with Madagascar, among the poorest countries to hold such an agreement, is examined. Incomes received by Madagascar since the first agreement with the EU in 1986 are documented, in both nominal and real terms, and discussed in the context of other conditions tied to the agreement, in particular support provided by the EU to improve Madagascar's fisheries management capacity. Results indicate that since 1986, EU quotas increased by 30% while the fees paid by the EU decreased by 20%. Yet, Madagascar's treasury income from these agreements decreased by 90%. This shows that the EU agreements with Madagascar are in direct contradiction to the goals set forth by the CFP, which states that benefits of agreements should be directed towards developing countries, and not towards private EU entities. This raises profound ethical questions that the CFP reform must address. A new framework is proposed, prioritizing fisheries sustainability and equitable benefit sharing, in which reasonable quotas are set, fees are indexed to the landed value of catches, and all costs of agreements are borne directly by the benefiting industries. EU development assistance should be decoupled from these agreements, and should focus on enhancing the host countries' monitoring and enforcement capacities. This new framework would increase the benefits to Madagascar while reducing costs to EU taxpayers. © 2012 Elsevier Ltd.

Andriamalala G.,Omnibus Business Center | Peabody S.,Omnibus Business Center | Gardner C.J.,University of Kent | Westerman K.,Omnibus Business Center
Conservation Evidence | Year: 2013

From April 2009 to November 2010, a social marketing campaign was designed and implemented in southwest Madagascar to encourage fishers to give up destructive fishing methods and to improve the awareness and enforcement of local laws (dina). The campaign, which targeted local leaders and fishers, was designed using results from formal and informal social surveys and focused on removing locally perceived barriers to behaviour change. In this paper, we describe the campaign from design to implementation, and evaluate its effects through surveys of 500 fishers and local leaders, and preliminary observational data on dina enforcement and use of destructive fishing techniques. Results after one year showed improved knowledge and positive attitudes about dina among leaders and fishers, moderate increases in the enforcement of dina, and moderate decreases in the use of destructive fishing methods. Our findings demonstrate the power and suitability of social marketing as a tool for fostering sustainable behaviour in traditional fishing communities, when combined with good governance and enforcement strategies.

Westerman K.,Omnibus Business Center | Gardner C.J.,University of Kent
Conservation Evidence | Year: 2013

Local and co-management approaches are increasingly adopted in marine conservation to increase compliance with rules, which is essential for effective management. Here, we evaluate an innovative approach to increasing compliance with community laws restricting access to permanently closed marine reserves within a locally managed marine area in southwest Madagascar. Drawing upon strong cultural bonds with ancestors and local taboos, permanent reserves were sanctified through a traditional ceremonies in which ancestral benediction was requested during reserve closures. We evaluated the effectiveness of the ceremonies in increasing respect for the rules through structured interviews with 161 fishers and local leaders from 10 villages located near established permanent reserves. Almost half of the respondents believed that respect for the rules is increased by the ceremonies. If this is reflected in actual behaviour change, it will help reduce rule infringement, enforcement costs and social conflict. At a one-off cost of approximately 500 US$ each, we believe the ceremonies provide value-for-money as a conservation intervention in the context of southwest Madagascar.

Humber F.,Omnibus Business Center | Humber F.,University of Exeter | Godley B.J.,University of Exeter | Broderick A.C.,University of Exeter
Diversity and Distributions | Year: 2014

Aim: We provide a global assessment of the current legal direct take of marine turtles, including the scale and species breakdown at country level, and investigate the significance of legal take to marine turtle populations within the wider context of global threats. Location: World-wide. Methods: We undertook a comprehensive review of the literature (>500 publications) and contacted over 150 in-country experts to collate data for countries that permit the legal take of marine turtles (as of 1 January 2013). Current annual take for each country and species was estimated, and estimates were generated for the 1980s, 1990s and 2000s. Results: Currently, 42 countries and territories permit direct take of turtles and collectively take in excess of 42,000turtles per year, the majority of which (>80%) are green turtles Chelonia mydas (Linnaeus 1758). Ten countries account for more than 90% of legal take each year with Papua New Guinea (36.1%) and Nicaragua (22.3%) accounting for more than half of the total global take. Since 1980, we estimate that more than 2million turtles have been legally taken in these countries, with current levels <60% of those in the 1980s. Main conclusions: Our results provide the most comprehensive global synthesis of the legal take of turtles in recent years and suggest that legal take has the potential to be a driver of marine turtle population dynamics, comparable to mortality estimates through recorded bycatch. However, it is likely that illegal take, along with bycatch, is significantly under-recorded and far greater than the total level of directed legal take. This hampers the ability to assess the relative impacts of these threats to marine turtles. Copyright © 2014 John Wiley & Sons Ltd205 May 2014 10.1111/ddi.12183 Biodiversity Research Biodiversity Research © 2014 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

Gardner C.J.,University of Canterbury | Latham J.E.,Independent Researcher | Rocliffe S.,Omnibus Business Center
Marine Policy | Year: 2016

Fisheries learning exchanges (FLEs) bring together fisher communities to exchange knowledge and experiences, with the goal of building social capital and disseminating management techniques. In 2015 two groups of octopus fishers from Bahia de los Angeles, Mexico and Sarodrano, Madagascar travelled to Andavadoaka, southwest Madagascar to learn about the temporary fishing closures for octopus used in the region. Octopus fisheries in Madagascar and Mexico differ in several respects, particularly harvesting techniques. The FLE was qualitatively evaluated through participant observation and semi-structured key informant (KI) interviews. Thirty before-and-after interviews were carried out with 16 KIs including visitors, hosts and organisers. Informants suggested that holding the FLE at the same time as the closure openings allowed for learning benefits but carried an important opportunity cost for organisers and host participants, and that shortcomings of planning and translation capacity limited learning opportunities. Several KIs were concerned about the applicability of the Malagasy management model to the Mexican context concerned, and the FLE may have had unforeseen consequences since Malagasy fishers were excited to learn a new fishing method (trapping) from the visitors: if effective, trapping could negatively impact Malagasy octopus stocks. The exchange of knowledge in the FLE was primarily one-way, from host to visitor, and most organisers did not view themselves as participants. Recommendations to improve the effectiveness of future FLEs include: (i) improving facilitation and translation capacity to promote dialogue, (ii) focusing on key messages, (iii) selecting appropriate participants and (iv) recruiting a specialist to organise and lead exchanges. © 2016 Elsevier Ltd.

Hantanirina J.,Omnibus Business Center | Benbow S.,Omnibus Business Center
African Journal of Marine Science | Year: 2013

Seagrass meadows provide important nursery and feeding grounds for many commercially valuable fish species. Here, we address the paucity of published information on the status of seagrasses in Madagascar by documenting the results from ecological surveys of 11 seagrass beds in Velondriake, a locally managed marine area (LMMA) in south-west Madagascar. The diversity and coverage of meadows was highest in the north of the LMMA with up to 51% coverage, and lowest in the south (26%). Overall, eight seagrass species were recorded: Cymodocea rotundata, C. serrulata, Halodule uninervis, Halophila ovalis, H. stipulacea, Syringodium isoetifolium, Thalassia hemprichii and Thalassodendron ciliatum. We discuss the natural and anthropogenic factors that may account for the observed low diversity of seagrasses in southern Velondriake, including overfishing, beach-seining, cyclones, siltation and mangrove deforestation. Based on these baseline surveys, as well as discussions with local communities, it is recommended that measures should be taken to reinforce efforts to ban beach-seines and that the role of seagrasses as carbon sinks and potential sustainable financing options through blue carbon initiatives should be investigated through further, more detailed surveys. © 2013 Copyright NISC (Pty) Ltd.

Raberinary D.,Omnibus Business Center | Raberinary D.,Institute Halieutique et des science Marines | Benbow S.,Omnibus Business Center
Fisheries Research | Year: 2012

The Octopus cyanea fishery is the most economically important fishery in southwest Madagascar. Growing concerns over the sustainability of exploitation have promoted a number of conservation efforts to improve management of the fishery. We analyse one year of catch data to identify seasonal variations in sexual maturity and key reproductive periods of the species, using microscopic analysis of gonad tissues to validate field assessments of maturity. Data show seasonal variability in maturity and size at first maturity for both sexes, as well as temporal changes in the sex ratio of the species. Maturity occurred at a minimum mean weight of 2246. g for females and 643. g for males. A clear relationship between gonad weight and total weight in male octopus indicates that total weight can be used as a proxy for sexual maturity in males. Conversely, females show high variability in weight at first maturity and no clear relationship between total weight and maturity stage. Fully sexually mature females were very rare, constituting less than 1% of the total sample. We hypothesise that the artisanal fishery may not be currently exploiting mature female individuals because females retreat to deeper waters prior to reproduction, thus remaining beyond the reach of the fishery. An abundance of juvenile individuals in the catch from June, and again from October to November, indicates recruitment peaks at these two times. In recent years, management of this species in southwest Madagascar has focused on short-term closures to fishing within specific tidal reef flat areas. Identification of the key phases of the reproductive cycle of O. cyanea in southwest Madagascar may provide managers with biological evidence to support seasonal closures designed to protect key life stages of the species. © 2012 Elsevier B.V.

Humber F.,Omnibus Business Center | Humber F.,University of Exeter | Andriamahefazafy M.,Omnibus Business Center | Godley B.J.,University of Exeter | Broderick A.C.,University of Exeter
Marine Policy | Year: 2015

The decline of many marine megafauna species is of global concern; but many of these species, in particular marine mammals, have been afforded international and national protection and are the focus of conservation programmes. The existing national and international legislation are reviewed through which marine megavertebrates are afforded protection in Malagasy waters. The decline and protection of marine megafauna has followed a familiar pattern in Madagascar, with two main exceptions: marine turtles and elasmobranchs remain heavily exploited by national and international fishing fleets. The status of legislation governing both taxa is unclear and unknown by many working within the fisheries and marine sector. In Madagascar, marine turtles are fully protected from exploitation by national regulations in conjunction with a number of multilateral agreements. The numerous pieces of legislation that protect marine turtles are not coherent, regularly misunderstood and rarely enforced. Madagascar is taking steps to improve protection of marine turtles through the development of a national strategy, but it is recommended that the opportunity is also taken to improve understanding of current legislation and work more closely with local communities that consider turtle fishing a customary practice. Elasmobranchs however, receive minimal legal protection and only those listed under multilateral agreements are bound by any potential future management. Where legislation does exist to help manage elasmobranchs (eg. bycatch stipulations for foreign fishing vessels) it is incomplete and difficult to enforce. It is also recommended that Madagascar puts in place national elasmobranch legislation to help prevent their continued overfishing, especially in the face of increasing numbers of elasmobranch species on CITES and CMS. As such, both groups of species are rendered effectively unprotected and are in danger of overexploitation. With the growth and proliferation of locally managed marine areas (LMMAs) in Madagascar the potential for local communities to increase protection and management of these species should be considered, especially with the limited capacity available to monitor and enforce legislation along such a vast coastline. © 2015 Elsevier Ltd.

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