Stop The Unsustainable Fishing In Mozambique
It is with great regret that the Community of Tofo in Inhambane feels that we need to forward to you this petition outlining our collective concern at the unsustainable and unnecessary slaughter of sharks and rays within our fishing industry. Inhambane Province and Tofo in particular is a continuing growth area for International Tourists providing Tofo with a growing economy based upon the success of the tourist and diving industries. This in turn has led to continuing upliftment of employment and opportunities for the Local Communities within this sphere. Research has indicated that the Inhambane coastline has an incredible 78 Shark and 45 Ray species and incorporates an immensely rich biodiversity. Conversely, it is also estimated that 8% of Mocambique GDP comes from fishing with 45% of protein intake per capita coming from fish and fish related products. During recent years there has been a concerning trend of high increase in the specific targeting of Sharks and Rays, with the setting up of numerous and now infamous `Shark Camps` up and down the coast. Such camps are synonymous with the Asian trade of shark finning. Now indiscriminate catching of Sharks and Rays is happening in high level tourist areas, creating a wave of outcry from International tourists and visitors alike leading to negative reflections on the Tourism Industry of this Country. Further to this, we are now destroying the very product that Tourists travel all the way across the World to view – Sharks and Rays. It is further clearly documented that Shark meat itself can contain up to 2000% above the safe levels of methyl-mercury and eating the meat is extremely dangerous in particular for pregnant women and children. When a fishing net has a target species of teleost fish, and the proportion of elasmobranch meat to fish meat is highly disproportioned, we have to question the actual target catch of the Fishermen. Such questions are causing elevated stress to many tourists and we fear that the Community will falter if there is a continuation of unregulated by catch brought on shore. Divers, National and International Tourists come to Mozambique to see these magnificent animals in the water, not dead or dying on the beaches. Many are shocked and angry to find out that law does not prohibit this, and blame can often turn to Business entities, stakeholders and the Local Communities. Unless change is implemented soon, there will be few Sharks and Rays left along our Coastline and the Tourism industry along with the developing local economy will suffer as a consequence. We thank you for your consideration in the discontinuation of unsustainable fishing practices and take this opportunity to present the undersigned signatures of the Business Community within Inhambane that would like to support a fishing community intent on sustainable fishing practices.