West Africa, Marine
Off the coast
The beaches of Cape Verde, Gambia, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Mauritania and Senegal are important nesting sites for 5 marine turtle species. And millions of migrating birds from Europe feed along the coast before beginning their homeward trek in the northern spring.
Offshore in the cold waters of the Atlantic Ocean, over 1,000 species of fish are found as well as dolphins, whales and seals. Extensive cold-water coral reefs encompass the archipelago of Cape Verde.
Troubled watersWest Africa is one of the most diverse, and economically important, fishing zones in the world.
But these waters have suffered from years of overfishing by large, foreign commercial fishing boats and unsustainable fishing practices.
With more and more boats searching for fewer and fewer fish, fish stocks are on the decline and conflicts between local and foreign fleets are on the rise,
WWF is working with West African governments and local communities to improve fisheries management, conserve coastal habitats and species, and support the establishment of marine protected areas.
The protected areas are crucial for safeguarding fish spawning grounds and stock recovery as well as marine biodiversity conservation, including marine turtles and manatees.
Other important protected sites along the West African coast include Mauritania’s Banc D’Arguin National Park, Gambia’s Tanji Nature Park and Guinea-Bissau’s Joao Vieira e Poilao Marine National Park.