Social, economic and trade characteristics of the elasmobranch fishery on Unguja Island, Zanzibar, East Africa


Barrowclift E, Temple AJ, Stead SM, Jiddawi NS & Berggren P (2017) Social, economic and trade characteristics of the elasmobranch fishery on Unguja Island, Zanzibar, East Africa. Marine Policy, 83, pp. 128-136.

Understanding the socio-economic drivers underpinning fishers' decisions to target elasmobranchs is considered vital in determining sustainable management objectives for these species, yet limited empirical data is collected. This study presents an overview of elasmobranch catch, trade and socio-economic characteristics of Zanzibar's small-scale, artisanal fishery. The value of applying this information to future elasmobranch fisheries policy is demonstrated. In August 2015, interviews were conducted with fishers (n = 39) and merchants (n = 16) at two landing sites, Kizimkazi-Dimbani and Mkokotoni, along with the main market site in Stone Town. Additionally, elasmobranch catches were recorded across the same locations between June and August 2015. Elasmobranchs were listed as target species by 49% of fishers interviewed. Whilst most fishers (n = 30) stated that 76–100% of their household income came from fishing, there was variation in how elasmobranch catch and trade contributed. One-third of fishers (n = 36) that caught and sold elasmobranchs reported that 41–60% of their income came from elasmobranch catch. However, for some fishers (n = 8) elasmobranch catch represented 0–20% of their income, whilst for others (n = 4) it represented 81–100%. Differences in fisheries income and elasmobranch price could be attributed to several interacting factors including season, weather, fishing effort, fishing gear, target catch and consumer demand. Further, elasmobranch price was influenced by size and species. The study revealed information on catch, trade, markets and socio-economy that is important for future research, conservation and management of elasmobranchs and fisheries in Zanzibar. The methods utilised have potential for broader application to understudied, artisanal elasmobranch fisheries in the western Indian Ocean.

Marine Policy: Volume 83

FundersNewcastle University
Publication date30/09/2017
Publication date online08/06/2017
Date accepted by journal02/06/2017