MPAs (Marine Protected Areas) are demarcated and monitored zones that preserve marine environments and resources. They prevent damages to habitats, promote their and thus enhance bio diversity, especially the recovery of most endangered species. Thereby, they facilitate the restoration of ecosystems after disturbance caused by man or nature. A massive increase in the number of fish in the MPAs enriches the peripheral zones and allows fishermen to increase their catch and hence their incomes.
Bamboung, the first functional MPA in Western Africa
In cooperation with small-scale fishermen, Oceanium created the first functional community-based Marine Protected Area in Bamboung in 2003. Key to this achievement were means of social communication and the support of the French Fund for the Global Environment (FFEM).
The boundaries and rules of management for this eco-system were determined together with the fishermen of the Saloum delta. It was decided by consensus to set up an integral protected area (without any exploitation of resources) of about 7,000 hectares, eventually allowing for the regeneration of terrestrial as well as marine resources. The social and environmental impact has not only been acknowledged by the local population, but also been proved scientifically by the Institute of Research and Development (IRD Marseille).
For example, the share of ichtyophagous (predators that eat fish) in the overall fish population has increased from seven to 33 per cent after only three years put under protection, which indicates the regeneration of this resource. The number of fish species has also increased, from 51 in 2002 (base line) to 74 in 2006. After the last campaigns implemented in 2007 and 2008, IRD concluded its analysis with affirming that the structure of the fish populations currently observed is typical for a relatively undisturbed natural setting and matches with the pre-existing structure. Before, many middle-sized fish species have been under enormous stress.
Support of community-based development
What makes the approach of Oceanium original is that the initiatives put in place provide the local populations with incomes and, in the long run, protect their environment. In the Marine Protected Area (MPA) of Bamboung, a locally elected inter-rural steering committee represents 14 villages and Oceanium. Collaborating with local communities, we have set up an eco-tourism lodge at Keur Bamboung. which allows the villages to obtain revenues, which compensate for their engagement in the process of protection. The surplus of the lodge is redistributed in the following manner :
Picasa gallery « AMPC du Bamboung »
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Ensemble, protégeons notre planète !