You are here: Home / Meetings & Workshops / Workshops / Scientists in West, Central Africa to apply ecosystem based-management to fisheries

Scientists in West, Central Africa to apply ecosystem based-management to fisheries

By Olu Sarr

GCLME EwE Workshop Link for more information

ACCRA 13 Dec - Turn-out and expectations were high Monday as fisheries experts began a five-day regional training workshop on the use of scientific models that could guide governments in managing fisheries resources in the Guinea Current region.EwE high table

“As custodians and stewards of these natural resources, you have the solemn responsibilities of ensuring perpetuity in their exploitation,” Mr. Nii Amasah-Namoalley, Ghana’s deputy minister of Food and Agriculture, told participants at the opening.

He said the workshop, whose overarching goal is to strengthen the capacities of the GCLME countries to manage marine resources sustainably by using the ecosystem approach, was “very appropriate” in that it was consistent with key aspects of the Millennium Development Goals. These are to eradicate extreme poverty, hunger and to attain environmental sustainability.

Fish resources, he added, support some 150 million coastal west and central Africans, providing them with relatively cheap sources of animal protein, with employment, income and potential tourism activities.

Despite some effort at management of the fisheries and the environment, the region continues to grapple with declining population numbers of these resources (fish stocks), largely caused by over-exploitation worsened by inadequate fisheries management practices and environmental degradation.

Reversing these trends is one of the tasks of the Interim Guinea Current Commission under its Large Marine Ecosystem project (IGCC/GCLME). One of the strategic aims of GCLME project, therefore, is to build human resource and institutional capacity in the region for ecosystem modelling of their marine ecosystem using the Ecopath with Ecosim (EwE) suit of models. The workshop will specifically focus on model construction using data from individual GCLME countries initially and later the whole of the GCLME marine coastal waters as single entity. This is the object of the workshop that began Monday in Accra, the Ghanaian capital, attended by all but one of the 16 GCLME countries representatives.

EwE group photo

“Your presence is a clear manifestation of the importance you placed in the IGCC/GCLME project and confidence reposed in its implementation,” said Dr. Stephen Donkor, executive secretary/regional coordinator of the IGCC/GCLME on the level of turnout.

Participants at this workshop, the second of its kind for the GCLME region, will learn how to use the Ecosystem model, Ecopath with Ecosim and construct a model based on their own country data. Emphasis will be for each participating country to input its own fisheries, environmental, socio-economic, and governance data into the model and test its applicability. Participants will also learn how to identify and gather relevant data from national institutions for fitting Ecopath to the national or regional Economic Exclusive Zones. It is the anticipation of the GCLME project that, for sustainability purposes, at the end of the workshop, the participants would impart their acquired skills to colleagues on returning home.

In addition the participants, mostly national experts in fisheries and related sciences, will be introduced to the importance of a time-dynamic simulation, using the Ecosim method, to test biological and sociological economic policy. They will also receive an overview and explore the capabilities of the spatial-dynamic simulation using Ecospace; and explore the possibilities of using existing data within the GCLME countries to apply the EwE suits of models.

The international EwE consultant, Dr. Villy Christensen of the University of British Columbia, is the lead facilitator of the workshop. He is supported by the IGCC fisheries expert, Dr. Mohamed Seisay and Dr. Ching Villaneuva, a senior research scientist in fisheries sciences, Laboratoire Resources Halieutiques, Ifremer, France. At the end of session the participants are expected to:

  • Mitigate the economical, ecological and social consequences of increased fishing;
  • Know the impacts of fisheries, competitors and environmental changes on population trends of threatened fish species
  • Simulate the potential impact of a proposed marine protected area
  • Learn to implement multispecies management under a multispecies fisheries regime;
  • Form a network of ecosystem-based fisheries management in the GCLME region;
  • Be able to know the status of exploitation of fish stocks and their interaction in the GCLME region

Earlier, at the opening of the workshop, the UNIDO representative in Ghana and Togo, Dr. Francis Bartels, said one of the “crucial challenges” to successful fisheries management was adequate human capacity and institutional capability in the application of modern systems management tools for natural resource governance.

Document Actions

Visitors Statistics