West African Marine Ecoregion project: supporting local fisheries

Sustainable artisanal fisheries - increasing their catch

Over the past three decades, artisanal fisheries in West Africa have expanded tremendously. Landings by artisanal fisheries in Senegal, for example, have increased 6-fold in the last 30 years. Now, 80% of the Senegal’s catch, some 400,000 tonnes per year, is landed by artisanal fishers.

Driven by subsidies and techmology
This development has been encouraged by many factors, such as state subsidises, priority access to most of the coastal fishing areas, technological development including motorization of the pirogues (the local wooden fishing boats), and increased access to the more lucrative European and American markets.

But no regulation
However, almost nothing has been done to regulate the level of effort (numbers of boats, fishing seasons, etc.) Traditional methods of local management have largely broken down and present management regimes cannot cope with the new situation.

Moreover, most of the countries in the ecoregion have no long-term policies with a clear vision of priority actions to be taken in order to maintain the productivity of marine and coastal resources.

Working to install a sense of sustainability
WWF's work on artisanal fisheries is designed to help resolve those problems. Its overarching objective is to have artisanal fisheries of the west African marine ecoregion adopt methods and practices of sustainable fishing. 

Using 2 targets
To reach this objective, two specific targets have been defined:

  • methods and practices of sustainable fishing will be implemented and/or reinforced in artisanal fisheries in at least one site (for example in Kayar, Senegal), which will serve as a model in the ecoregion;
  • a shared general vision will be developed for artisanal fisheries in countries which benefit from the natural productivity if this ecoregion.

Subscribe to our mailing list

* indicates required