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Assessment of a multispecies fishery in Senegal, using production models and diversity indices

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  15 September 1997

Didier Gascuel
ENSAR, Unité Halieutique, 65 route de St Brieuc, 35042 Rennes Cedex, France
Frédéric Ménard
ORSTOM, Centre de Recherches Océanologiques, BP V18, Abidjan, République de Côte d'Ivoire
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This paper presents a multispecific approach in order to assess the main demersal resources exploited off Senegal (West-Africa). In absence of reliable data on the actual fishing effort, two series of theoretical fishing effort are estimated, using available species abundance indices from 1971 to 1991. These two series correspond to different hypotheses concerning the trends of fleets' fishing power: an optimistic one and a pessimistic one. For each species or taxa, a surplus production model is calculated with landings statistics and effort. The combining of monospecific models provides a multispecific diagnosis. The analysis is completed by the calculation of diversity indices of catches at the equilibrium level, expressed as a function of fishing effort. While considering the uncertainty around this first assessment, we show that Senegalese groundfish resource is globally full or over-exploited, according to the considered hypothesis. Under the pessimistic hypothesis, 9 among the 11 taxa of Pisces were clcarly over-exploited, with fishing effort some-times as much as twice or three times the effort of maximisation (fMSY). The situation is very critical for Arius sp., Epinephelus aeneus, Pagellus bellottii and Pomadasys sp. Using the multispecific approach, pessimistic diagnosis indicates a fishing effort nearly twice fMSY, with a Maximum Sustainable Yield at about 53 000 t for the 11 taxa together. Conversely, in 1991, octopus and cuttlefish appeared under-exploited. The diversity analysis shows that an increase in fishing effort would lead to a decrease in catch diversity. This result is interpreted as a sign of fragility in the exploited ecosystem.

Research Article
© IFREMER-Elsevier, Paris 1997

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