Fishing on the Beira Coast in Mozambique. Image credit

ZIMSEC O Level Geography Notes: Natural Resources: Fishing: Sea fisheries on the east coast of Southern Africa

  • The east coast of Southern Africa is washed by warm ocean currents, like the Mozambique current and the warm Agulhas current.
  • The area therefore has low levels of nutrients giving rise to poor fishing grounds.
  • The fisheries are confined to the narrow continental shelf, where water is shallow to allow sunlight to penetrate.
  • This encourages the growth of plankton.
  • In coastal Tanzania fishing is affected by the presence of coral reefs.
  • Fishing is therefore mainly concentrated around the islands of Pemba and Zanzibar.
  • The east coast, washed by the warm Mozambique current, is rich in fish species of the bronze bream and the square tailored lobster.
  • Prawns in theMozambique channel form the most lucrative fishing business.
  • Prawns are however over-exploited thus threatening the sustainability of the industry in the east coast.
  • Commercial fishing is very limited on the east coast and catches are low and generally declining.
  • Commercial catches include anchovy, hake, herring and prawns.
  • The Agulhas bank is a broad shallow part of the continental shelf, south of Cape Agulhas on the southern tip of Africa, stretching for just over 200 km offshore.
  • It is the meeting zone of cold waters from the Benguela current and warm waters from the Mozambique and Agulhas current system.
  • The water is fairly calm, making it an ideal fish-spawning area.
  • The moderate water temperatures create an ideal conditions for both warm and cold water fish species.
  • As the Agulhas Bank lies between the waters of the nutrient rich Benguela cold waters and the less nutrient warm waters of the Agulhas current, the area is richer in fish food than the east coast.
  • The Agulhas bank plays a major role in stocking the southern part of the Benguela system with fish.
  • Dominant fish species include sardines, Cape anchovy, herring, Cape horse mackerel, Cape hake, kingklip and Agulhas sole.
  • The major threats to the Agulhas bank fishery is over-fishing and pollution from coastal agriculture and industry.

To access more topics go to the O Level Geography Notes page