Mozambique's exports of its famously succulent prawns fell 15 per cent in 2007 as a result of spiralling oil prices, the government said Thursday, the dpa reported.
Exports of the shellfish fell from 92 million dollars in 2006 to 78 million dollars in 2007 as fishermen found it increasingly difficult to fork out for engine fuel, Ivone Lichucha of the Ministry of Fisheries told reporters in the capital Maputo.
"This year, only 51 out of 59 fishing boats sought licenses to catch prawns. The reduction in number is because the owners are incapable to fuel their boats on a regular basis and so they prefer to dock," she said.
On top of the rising fuel prices, Mozambican fishermen were also having to sail further from harbour to catch fish because of the increase in poaching by foreign fishing trawlers, she said.
Mozambique loses 38 million dollars annually to illegal fisheries in its waters.
A Namibian-registered vessel was recently discovered in Mozambican waters transporting an illegal haul of 43 tonnes of shark.
The government is seeking an 80-million-dollar loan to beef up patrols of its 2,700-kilometre coastline.