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Title: Reduction of Blast Fishing in Tanzania: Analysis of Outcomes and Deterrence Measures
Contributor(s): Hampton-Smith, Melissa  (author)orcid ; Mika, Sarah  (supervisor)orcid ; Bower, Deborah  (supervisor)orcid ; Argent, Neil  (supervisor)orcid 
Conferred Date: 2021-09-09
Copyright Date: 2021
Open Access: Yes
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Related DOI: 10.1016/j.biocon.2021.109307
Related Research Outputs:
Abstract: Blast fishing (known variously as dynamite and bomb fishing) has caused long-term damage to reefs and coastal livelihoods in Tanzania and across the globe for decades. Blasting reefs with explosives has provided fish for commercial and consumption purposes, but the practice has also led to large-scale destruction of coral reef ecosystems by reducing the populations of coral colonies and reef species. In 2015 and 2016, a Tanzanian government campaign against blasting was initiated along the entire coastline. Subsequently, a significant and near uniform reduction in blasting was observed. The aim of my study was to: (1) assess the current global status of blast fishing, and to elucidate broad causes, implications and solutions to the problem; (2) analyse causal factors underlying involvement in blast fishing and reduction of the activity in Tanzania; and (3) assess how Tanzania’s coastline communities and their fish stocks have been affected by the reduction of blast fishing. My literature review analysed 212 papers from seven databases and found that ineffective enforcement and governance structures drive blasting; socioeconomic causes may contribute but are not dominant. A combination of deterrence measures and co-managed marine protected areas (MPAs) emerged as the most effective solution to blasting. I surveyed 98 households and 19 fisher focus groups with 243 fishers in four Tanzanian regions with historically high levels of blast fishing. Survey sites were purposively chosen based on previous records of blasting activity, including controls with low blasting histories; respondents were systematically selected. My primary data show that the profitability of blasting is its primary cause. The government campaign against blasting is regarded by the majority of respondents as the primary cause of the reduction. Fish catches are widely reported as having increased following the campaign. These data support the literature review as well as previous studies conducted in the region. Further research incorporating geographic and market factors will deepen understanding of destructive fishing in developing coastal fisheries.
Publication Type: Thesis Masters Research
Fields of Research (FoR) 2008: 050202 Conservation and Biodiversity
050209 Natural Resource Management
070403 Fisheries Management
Socio-Economic Objective (SEO) 2008: 960802 Coastal and Estuarine Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity
960808 Marine Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity
960902 Coastal and Estuarine Land Management
Socio-Economic Objective (SEO) 2020: 180203 Coastal or estuarine biodiversity
180504 Marine biodiversity
180299 Coastal and estuarine systems and management not elsewhere classified
HERDC Category Description: T1 Thesis - Masters Degree by Research
Description: The Dataset for this Thesis can be accessed here:
Appears in Collections:School of Environmental and Rural Science
School of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences
School of Science and Technology
Thesis Masters Research

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