We fully support the Release of fish and since we started the Vilankulos / Bazaruto operation in 2001 have a policy of releasing all billfish species as well as many other´s, especially GT´s and all other members of the Kingfish family, job fish, king and queen mackerel, all species of the barracuda family, snappers, groupers and other slow growing, reef and scarce species.
We believe in tagging most of our released fish and have worked with the ORI (Oceanographic Research Institute of Durban) since 2001. We have deploying ORI tags in hundreds of bill and game fish and have been their top tagging boat for numerous years. In 2015 we also started working with the African Billfish foundation and currently deploy their tags on all billfish releases. We are also collecting genetic sampling´s for the ABF research on Black Marlin.
A very interesting and puzzling fact is that nowhere else on Africa’s east coast, or has far as we know, in the whole of the Indian Ocean region for that matter, is there such a regular abundance of large female Black Marlin. There is still a whole lot to be learned about this particular stock of fish and no one really knows for sure where these huge females go when they depart Bazaruto outside the season. Efforts are being made to get sponsorship in order to tag some of these big fish with satellite tags, hopefully in the near future.
We exclusively use circle hook´s when fishing with bait and have been an advocate for them in the area for many years. Fortunately most charter and private boats, as well as most tournaments in the area adopt a release policy and the very few marlin weighed each year are predominantly because they could not be revived and released alive. Various efforts are being introduced to ensure mortality rates become considerably less in the future, including spreading the use of circle hooks and training local and unexperienced visiting crews in correct fighting techniques and the appropriate handling, tagging and reviving of fish.
PROTECTING THE RESOURCE
In the early 2000´s some local resorts along with the Bazaruto parks board and government military authorities came together with a very proactive stance against any commercial fishing on the Archipelago. After the military took some very drastic measures in 2003 not a single purse-seiner, long liner or any other commercial or industrial vessel was seen operating within the Archipelago´s waters for well over Presently a few smaller commercial trollers do operate in the area legally, although they are highly restricted to specific boundaries, which are set way offshore.
The Park as also closed a few main reef areas within the archipelago as no fishing zones and gill netting & spearfishing within the National park Boundaries is strictly illegal. Two patrol boats are constantly monitoring the park in order to enforce these rules.
THE BAZARUTO MAGIC!
The region has over 180 species of birds, 45 species of reptiles and 2000 species of fish. It is a success story in marine-park conservation and is home to the indigenous Xitsonga-speaking Tsonga and Mahoca ethnic group.
Dolphins (common, bottlenose, spinners & humpbacks) and turtles are an everyday sight, and humpback whales are very common during the winter months, primarily from June to October. Pilot whales and occasionally southern right whales, whale sharks and orcas can also be seen.
While travelling to and from the fishing grounds, you might be lucky to spot a rare dugong, which occur in the sheltered bay between the Islands and the mainland, grazing on the seagrass meadows. The Bazaruto Archipelago supports the largest population on Africa’s east coast.
The kind and smiling people of Bazaruto take you back to its roots, to a time when people still live the simplistic life of the earth. Of their own initiative, the Island and mainland people stop fishing for three months of the year to let the ocean recover its cycle. At the beginning of every fishing season they carry out the Kuphatla, which is the traditional ceremony to call for the spirits of the sea to provide for good fishing, good weather and to avoid accidents.
We wish you the same on your fishing trip to the Vilankulos – Bazaruto area…