ECOWAS donates food to displaced persons in northeast. | .Nigerian innovator uses app to fight food waste. | .South Africa: White People Have Work to Do, Say Activists. | .Mr D Food expects to double downloads in six months. | .Shoprite shares fall after Steinhoff bid. | .'Namaskar 2007' expo aims to boost India-West Africa trade. | .Commercial Potential for Cassava in Africa – Highlighted at CMT's 3rd Cassava World Africa. | .Pangolins under pressure. | .Govt, Sakunda work on $68m irrigation project. | .Blog tags
Home » News » Sardines under threat of EXTINCTION as overfishing pushes them towards being wiped out

CONSERVATIONISTS fear sardines are in danger of being wiped off the planet.

GETTY

The popular bony fish are being fished on a huge scale in Africa

The small Atlantic fish that has become a lunchtime favourite and evening tapas treat is in danger of becoming extinct.Overfishing off the African coast is pushing the Madeiran sardine and many other fish species towards oblivion, warns the influential custodians of the planet’s Red List of endangered species.

The International Union for Conservation of Nature published a report today that warns of an imminent catastrophe for fish species as well as a potential food security crisis for up to 400 million people who rely on them as diet staples along the west coast of Africa.

By rights, these are some of the riches waters in the world, with a rich diversity of fish found in mangroves, lagoons, estuaries and coastal shorelines.Besides providing food and livelihoods for millions, the fish stocks also play an important role in bolstering national economies.

Scientists studying the conservation status of 1,288 bony fish species in an age when overfishing, pollution, habitat damage and climate change all pose ominous threats have made worrying discoveries.

A school of sardinesGETTY

In the west, sardines have garnered a reputation for being a ‘super food’

Studies show that 37 of the assessed species are threatened with extinction and another 14 are near threatened through marine waters stretching from Mauritania south to Angola.

Fish provide a major source of animal protein for coastal communities

Inger Andersen of IUCN

Almost 80 per cent of the vanishing fish species are caught commercially or in small-scale fisheries, providing essential food for coastal people.Species highlighted in the report include the Maderian sardine (Sardinella maderensis), which is now listed as vulnerable. I

It is one of three sardine species all considered overfished within the region.

Sardines have developed a growing reputation as a super food, rich in omega-3 fatty acid and vitamins, calcium and protein.Madeiran sardine catches began to decline a decade ago, partly because of active European commercial fishing.

The cassava croaker has declined by up to 60 per cent over the last decade and is now listed as endangered, again due to overfishing. Local subsistence fishermen could be badly affected if croaker stocks decline.

Another major concern highlighted by the study is the severely limited scope for fisheries surveillance and enforcement in the African waters, allowing both illegal fish and overfishing.

Illegal catches account for more than 40 per cent of the take in many of countries studied, says the report.IUCN Director General Inger Andersen warned of the humanitarian threats posed by overfishing.

He said: “The growing extinction threat to fish off the central and western coast of Africa could seriously undermine food security across the region, impacting on progress towards the first two Sustainable Development Goals in addition, of course, to undermining SDG14 on life under water.

“Fish provide a major source of animal protein for coastal communities, which account for around 40 per cent of this region’s population.

A plate of fried sardines

GETTY

Sardine fishing is at the core of many nations’ economies

“In a part of the world where poverty reduction remains a challenge, preserving the rich diversity of marine fish species will help safeguard the livelihoods of local communities.”Because of limited financial and technical capacity, fish needing protection and conservation measures are misidentified, putting them at further risk of disappearing forever.

Beth Polidoro, co-coordinator of the IUCN Marine Fishes Red List Authority, said: “This report highlights the need for improved knowledge and monitoring of marine biodiversity in the region.

“Many nations are still lacking in adequate marine or coastal protected areas to safeguard marine resources, while many of the current protected areas are in need of increased capacity, funding, infrastructure and governance for effective enforcement and conservation.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *