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

Lookup NU author(s): Ellen Barrowclift-Mahon, Dr Andrew Temple, Professor Selina Stead, Professor Per Berggren



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License (CC BY-NC-ND).


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.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Barrowclift E, Temple AJ, Stead S, Jiddawi NS, Berggren P

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Marine Policy

Year: 2017

Volume: 83

Pages: 128-136

Print publication date: 01/09/2017

Online publication date: 08/06/2017

Acceptance date: 02/06/2017

Date deposited: 27/06/2017

ISSN (print): 0308-597X

ISSN (electronic): 1872-9460

Publisher: Elsevier


DOI: 10.1016/j.marpol.2017.06.002


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Funder referenceFunder name
MASMA/CP/2014/01Western Indian Ocean Marine Science Association (WIOMSA)