Fishing in West Africa 12 fisheries in West Africa have developed fishery improvement action plans with the support of two projects. Photo: Quentin Bates

Two innovative marine projects are helping pave the way for sustainable fishing in West Africa.

In March 2018, the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) joined forces with multiple partners to initiate the projects dedicated to enabling and supporting sustainable fishing across several West African countries. Funded by the MAVA Foundation (MAVA), these projects have resulted in 12 fisheries being able to develop fishery improvement action plans.

“MSC certification is not necessarily the only end goal for these projects,” said Carlos Montero Castaño, the MSC’s senior fisheries programme manager for pathways and small pelagics.

”Our purpose is to build a solid basis in the West African region to generate proper knowledge and incentive to help fisheries management transition towards sustainability, and understand the financial challenges this transition implies.”

What the two projects involve

A project coordinated by RAMPAO, the ‘Sustainable Exploitation of small pelagic in MPAs and other protected areas in West Africa’ (PPAMP), aims to build capacity for improved fisheries management, particularly to reduce overexploitation of small pelagic fisheries interacting with marine protected areas (MPAs) across Mauritania, Senegal, The Gambia, and Guinea-Bissau.

A second project initiated alongside financial solutions specialist, Clarmondial, ‘Leading West African Fisheries toward sustainable fishing practices’ (LEAD), aims to understand technical and financial obstacles preventing North-West African fisheries from improving their management practices towards optimised environmental performance. LEAD engages with eight fisheries located in Cape Verde, Mauritania, Senegal, and The Gambia, ranging from larger commercially important to artisanal fleets.

Both projects use the MSC Fisheries Standard as a reference to drive improvements in the management and governance of West African fisheries to deliver measurable environmental benefits. Such benefits may include increased stocks, improved management measures, reduced bycatch, better control and monitoring of fishing activities, and increased knowledge about ecosystem impacts among stakeholders in fishery value chains.

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