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Sub Regional Workshop on the Management of the Shared Stock of Sardinella

Opening Ceremony
The Sub Regional Workshop on Management of the shared resources of Sardinella between Angola, Congo, DR Congo, and Gabon was held at the Conference hall of the National Institute of Fisheries in Luanda, Angola, from the 27 to 29 March 2006. The Workshop was opened by Dr. Francisca Delgado, Director General of the Institute, representing the Minister of Fisheries, Angola. Dr. Djama Theodore , Fisheries Expert represented the Regional Director, GCLME.

Background

The small pelagic fisheries provides nearly half of the animal protein of Angola, Congo, Republic Democratic of Congo (RDC), Gabon and is an important source of employment and food to populations of costal regions, where it is often the only source of livelihood for the poorer population groups.

The main pelagic species in the sub region are Sardinella aurita and Sardinella maderensis and are usually found in the upper water layers and near the surface from shallow (10 m) inshore bays to the 200 meters depth line. S. maderensis is known as a more sedentary species inhabiting coastal, warm and often brackish waters while S. aurita is known to prefer upwelling areas and to migrate to avoid unfavourable environmental conditions. In Angola, however, both species make extensive seasonal migrations. During the cold season, sardinellas move northwards, while, during the warm season, they tend to aggregate in high concentrations mainly off central and southern Angola.

During the last decade, S. maderensis has been the dominant sardinella species in Angolan waters, while S. aurita has shown very reduced abundance. However, in the last (2005) survey conducted aboard the RV Dr Fridtjof Nansen the results showed a general decrease on the biomass estimated and the proportion of biomass of the two Sardinella species was different from typical pattern over the last 10 years. From the total estimated biomass, around 58% was S. aurita and 42% S. maderensis.

The knowledge on population structure of the two Sardinella species is yet limited. It is generally believed that the area off southern Gabon and Congo is an important nursery area for sardinella and that fish move southwards as they grow.

Although, Troadec and Garcia (1980) postulated that sardinella sp seems to be only one stock from south of Gabon to south of Angola they are assessed and managed independently.

The Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries (FAO, 1995) makes the following recommendations in connection with shared stocks.

Paragraph 6.4…In recognizing the transboundary nature of many aquatic ecosystems, States should encourage bilateral and multilateral cooperation in research, as appropriate.

Paragraph 7.1.3 for transboundary fish stocks…..where these are exploited by two or more States, the States concerned should cooperate to ensure effective conservation and management of the resources.

Taking into account theses principles in the order to develop a sustainable sardinella fishery will be necessary to determine the shareability of the stock between the four countries, culminating in a suitable resource management procedures.

Objectives

The objective of this meeting is to review existing research and management strategies between Congo, Republic Democratic of Congo (RDC) and Gabon in respect of shared sardinella stock. The current methods of assessment applied in the four countries will be analysed and some recommendations for future assessment strategy will be elaborated taking into account the Ecosystem Approach to Fisheries Management.

The review will focus in the following hypotheses:

  1. Is Mayumba in Gabon one of the major nursery ground for the shared stock of Sardinella sp
  2. Is the shared stock of Sardinella aurita overexploited
  3. What are the possible sources of exploitation
  4. The comprehensiveness of the stock assessment
  5. What are the prospect for the future

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