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Frontiers in Marine Science;
Understanding the horizontal and vertical habitat of olive ridley sea turtles (Lepidochelys olivacea), a threatened species, is critical for determining regions for protection and relevant gear modifications that may effectively reduce bycatch, the largest threat to this species. Satellite transmitters were used to determine the movement and dive behavior of 21 female olive ridley turtles tagged in Pongara National Park, Gabon during the 2012, 2013, and 2015 nesting seasons. A switching state-space model was used to filter the tracking data and categorize the internesting and post-nesting movements. Gridded utilization distribution (UD) home range analysis of tracking data revealed that the entire core habitat occurred in the Komo Estuary during the internesting period. Within the Komo Estuary, 58% of this core UD occurred in shipping lanes. Dive data from the 2015 tagging season revealed that during the internesting period, turtles spent the majority of their time resting on the estuary seabed. Approximately 20% of all dive time was spent on the bottom and all maximum dive depths corresponded to the depth of the seabed, indicating that bottom set gear during the internesting period may pose the greatest potential for fisheries interactions. National parks currently protect many of the nesting sites and the Gabon Bleu initiative has formally designated 10 new marine parks and a network of community and industrial fishing zones; this data was a layer used in determining the park and zone boundaries. Shared use of the estuary by fisheries, shipping, and olive ridley turtles creates a need for management measures to reduce interactions. Thus, the results from this study can further provide detailed information that can be used to support the development of evidence-based management plans.
The marine biodiversity of Gabon, West Africa has not been well studied and is largely unknown. Our examination of marine communities associated with oil platforms in Gabon is the first scientific investigation of these structures and highlights the unique ecosystems associated with them. A number of species previously unknown to Gabonese waters were recorded during our surveys on these platforms. Clear distinctions in benthic communities were observed between older, larger platforms in the north and newer platforms to the south or closer to shore. The former were dominated by a solitary cup coral, Tubastraea sp., whereas the latter were dominated by the barnacle Megabalanus tintinnabulum, but with more diverse benthic assemblages compared to the northerly platforms. Previous work documented the presence of limited zooxanthellated scleractinian corals on natural rocky substrate in Gabon but none were recorded on platforms. Total estimated fish biomass on these platforms exceeded one ton at some locations and was dominated by barracuda (Sphyraena spp.), jacks (Carangids), and rainbow runner (Elagatis bipinnulata). Thirty-four percent of fish species observed on these platforms are new records for Gabon and 6% are new to tropical West Africa. Fish assemblages closely associated with platforms had distinct amphi-Atlantic affinities and platforms likely extend the distribution of these species into coastal West Africa. At least one potential invasive species, the snowflake coral (Carijoa riisei), was observed on the platforms. Oil platforms may act as stepping stones, increasing regional biodiversity and production but they may also be vectors for invasive species. Gabon is a world leader in terrestrial conservation with a network of protected areas covering >10% of the country. Oil exploration and biodiversity conservation currently co-exist in terrestrial and freshwater ecosystems in Gabon. Efforts to increase marine protection in Gabon may benefit by including oil platforms in the marine protected area design process.
Le Cameroun est le premier partenaire commercial des pays membres de la Communauté Economique et Monétaire de l'Afrique Centrale (CEMAC). Malgré leur appartenance à un même regroupement sous-régional, les liens commerciaux formels entre eux ont été entravés par un ensemble de facteurs qui ont stimulé la croissance du commerce transfrontalier (non enregistré) informel.