Friday, November 12, 2004

Ghana/West Africa: no fish ... people turn to bushmeat

Overfishing by subsidized European fleets off the coast of West Africa is hurting local fisheries and forcing people to slaughter wildlife to get enough to eat, researchers said on Thursday.

[...] "If people aren't able to get their protein from fish, they'll turn elsewhere for food and economic survival. Unfortunately, the impacts on wild game resources are not sustainable, and species are literally disappearing from the reserves," Brashares added in a statement. [Justin Brashares, assistant professor of ecosystem sciences at the University of California Berkeley.]

[...] More than half of Ghana's 20 million people live near the coast and they rely heavily on fishing.

Brashares and colleagues said they studied census data recorded by park rangers from 1970 to 1998 for 41 species of animals such as buffalo, antelope, jackals, lions, elephants, monkeys and baboons.

[...] They found a 76 percent decrease in numbers of mammals, with many local extinctions.

[...] Bushmeat hunting has also been linked to the emergence of dangerous new viruses that may have jumped from animals to people -- Ebola and the AIDS virus. (source)