A researcher from Madagascar, with his South African and French counterparts, has discovered the existence of a coastal current off the island nation’s coast that may lead to improved fishing and marine industry management.
Work from their study, published in Geophysical Research Letters, is part of a collaboration that includes the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) in South Africa.
“As a Malagasy who grew up along this coastline, I have an intimate relationship with the current. I grew up with this current; it was such a big part of my life,” said Juliano Dani Ramanantsoa, a research partner and doctoral candidate from the Department of Oceanography at the University of Cape Town.
“Publishing the research was a truly emotional moment in my life,” he added.
By using physical observations and satellite data, the team identified the shallow, warm and salty surface current running along the southwestern coast of Madagascar.
“It adds to our understanding of the global ocean circulation and brings new insights about biological connectivity between the Madagascar and South African marine regions,” says Dr Marjolaine Krug, a CSIR senior researcher who specializes in the Agulhas Current to the south of the continent.
“Like in the Agulhas Current, variability of the east Madagascar current impacts the productivity of the waters near the coast and shelf. One can use similar tools and approaches to study the two systems.”
The new knowledge has value for the fishing industry, which has a significant impact on food security, employment, and foreign exchange income in the region.
Other partners on the project included the University of Western Brittany, France, and the French Institute for Research and Development.