4 December 2017

Namibia: Scientist Says Pelagic Species Diminishing

CHANCES are high that pelagic fisheries will diminish along the Atlantic coast of Africa, a scientist has concluded.

Pelagic includes small fish such as sardines and herrings, as well as bigger fish such as tuna and pilchard.

Norwegian chief scientist Bjorn Erik Axelsen of the Dr Fridtjof Nansen advanced research vessel, told reporters at Walvis Bay recently that a survey which they are currently conducting detected less pelagic fisheries. The vessel commenced a survey on pelagic species in Morocco in May, and reached Walvis Bay last week.

It will conclude the survey in Cape Town, South Africa, in the next few weeks.

Axelsen, however, gave the assurance that apart from that finding, there are no other worrying discoveries in the Atlantic Ocean.

"What is for sure is that the pelagic will diminish. What is not clear is how fast and when exactly it can happen," he said. He added that the survey discovered that the population of jellyfish in the Atlantic coast of Africa increased rapidly.

"The jellyfish population has exceeded far more that of pelagic," the scientist said. He said such an increase will mean competition for the other species, and could even lead to the fast diminishing of fish stocks.

"Jellyfish are not that consumable, hence there is little or no use for them. That's why they have increased fast," he explained.

Some fish, however, do prey on them.

Axelsen noted that the challenge is to find a way to harvest and use jellyfish for economic gain.

The internet has unconfirmed reports of jellyfish being eaten in China. In Israel, innovators are apparently looking at making biodegradable diapers and female hygiene products out of jellyfish.

Axelsen said the survey also found that various fish species are available in abundance, but in deep waters, where they cannot be caught.

"The use of light can bring some species closer, while others go deeper when they see light."

He explained that the survey aims to understand the behaviours and population of fisheries and the implications in order to manage them sustainably.

The Dr Fridtjof Nansen advanced research vessel is described as the third most advanced in the world. - Nampa

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