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Mangrove Destruction Undermines Fish Trade

GENERAL - An investigation into the use of West African mangrove forests for the smoked fish trade has reveals a threat to the livelihoods of the very fishermen who supply the fish to the market.

With the use of socio-economic surveys, from February to July 2006, the study established that the amount of the annual fuel-wood harvest for five study sites was about 102,650 m3 (i.e., an amount equivalent to clearing about 205.3 ha of mangrove forests annually).

It is estimated that approximately 62% of this total is used to smoke most of the fish (i.e., about 90.7% of the fish landings) across the five study sites. The quantities of wood seemed to vary proportionately with fish landings across sites, hence indicating a probable direct correlation between mangrove wood harvested and its use in fish smoking.

The different uses of mangrove wood were similar in all sites, but the quantities of wood extracted from different sites varied, with sites of high fish landings registering the highest fuel-wood turnover.

It seemed that local people were unaware of the need to maintain ecosystem functions despite the close relationship between wood and fish harvesting, and their importance in ensuring the livelihood for local population in the study areas.

Further Reading

- You can view the full report by clicking here.