From rocky cliffs and broad sandy beaches to extensive sea grass prairies and dense mangrove forests, West Africa's coastline is diverse as it is extensive.
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.
West 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