A Review on the Ecology, Exploitation and Conservation of Reef Fish Resources in Mozambique
Coral and rocky reefs are very important ecosystems in terms of their diversity, productivity, abundance and beauty. Mozambique possesses extensive reef areas, where fish fauna is the main exploited resource. Nevertheless, the ecology of these resources is little studied. A recent report listed 794 reef-associated fishes known to occur in Mozambican coral and rocky reefs. This is a first accountancy of the high fish diversity of Mozambican reefs, which must be assessed. Reef-associated fish resources exploitation is conducted at three basic levels: (i) subsistence (artisanal fishery); (ii) commercial exploitation (semi-industrial reef fishery, ornamental fish trade and recreational diving); and (iii) sports fishing. Presently, the artisanal fishery is the most important, as a food source, being responsible for about 70% of the country’s total annual catch. However, commercial activities, such as ornamental fish trade and recreational diving, notwithstanding less important presently, show great economical and reef damage potential. Some conservation and management actions are discussed along with research needs.