The international conference “Seaweed for blue economies, biodiversity and ecosystem services - an opportunity at sub-regional level” evolved around the results of the CLIMALG-SN project on 06-07 December at the head-quarter of the Sub-Regional Fisheries Commission (SRFC) in Dakar, Senegal and online.

Scientists from Senegal and the neighbouring countries Mauritania, Gambia, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau and Cabo Verde, regional representatives from the private and public sectors, from marine economy and environment, NGO’s, decision makers, universities and research institutions and international organisations exchanged about the biodiversity and valorisation of seaweed (macroalgae, seavegetables) in the sub-region with seaweed experts from the international SafeSeaweedCoalition, GEOMAR and the IGZ  More information about the conference can be found here.

The sampling campaigns of CIMALG-SN along the Senegalese coast

In May and June 2021, the first major sampling campaign along the coast of Senegal was successfully completed. The inventory of macroalgae at many sites along the Senegalese coast was studied to determine their impact on biodiversity. The team led by Waly Ndiaye (ISRA-CRODT) and Patrice Bremher (IRD-Senegal) collected algal and water samples for DNA and eDNA barcoding, bioassay, and chemical analyses. GEOMAR researchers from Kiel support the Senegalese researchers and students in the analysis of the data.

The second sampling campaign was conducted at the same locations in August and September 2021. Again Waly Ndiaye, Mamie Diop, Ndeye Bousso and Fulgence Diedhiou (ISRA-CRODT) collected many macroalgae samples and took countless photos, which are currently being analysed.

Around Dakar, Mamie Diop and Ndeye Bousso (ISRA-CRODT) have been regularly visiting ten sites of diverse environments since May 2021 to study the seasonality of macroalgae and their biodiversity in relation to pollution and other parameters. In May 2022, this campaign was also successfully completed.

The analyses and evaluations of the samples are in progress.

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CLIMALG- SN || Seaweed for climate change resilient blue economies, biodiversity and ecosystem services in Senegal and West Africa || Project partners

Seaweed resources in Senegal || Project description

CLMALG-SN aims at seaweed habitats and their potential to foster blue growth and to enhance biodiversity and ecosystem services in Senegal and neighbouring countries.

The project will provide a road map to policy makers to encourage both exploitation (cultivation and harvest) of seaweed and preservation of natural seaweeds habitats as a tool for fisheries management and as refuge and habitat for exploited fish. Seaweed aquaculture cannot only be a profitable and sustainable source of income, but also a tool for carbon fixation and for nutrient recovery from over-fertilized coastal waters. Natural and sustainably harvested and cultivated seaweed habitats can stabilize, conserve and restore marine biodiversity and ecosystem services.

CLIMALG-SN will update the current seaweed inventory in Senegal, and assess their influence on biodiversity, interactions with ecological and biogeochemical cycles and bottlenecks for their recent exploitation. Existing knowledge will be gathered, socio-economic interviews and taxonomic identification will be conducted, and use of genomics and metagenomics as novel methodologies, relevant for the identification of seaweeds and the associated species biodiversity, will be introduced.

CLIMALG-SN will close a serious information gap on seaweed habitats, their current inventory in Senegal, their recent exploitation and their influence on biodiversity.

The knowledge will be developed, shared and disseminated in meetings and workshops with interested stakeholders from different domains, which include small-scale fishermen, women associations, potential stakeholders of seaweed production, local and sub-regional fishing commissions, institutions and organisations with an emphasis on policy and decision-making, including both maritime economy and environmental directorates, as well as academic partners and non-governmental organisations.

Overall, the planned activities in CLIMALG-SN directly target the sustainable management and protection of marine and coastal ecosystems through the increase of scientific knowledge and research capacity.  All activities contribute to capacity building of Senegalese direct and indirect partners, at technical, academic and institutional levels and to knowledge about the marine ecosystem, two key components for the socio-economic development. CLIMALG-SN contributes directly to SDG 14 “Life below water” and strongly supports further Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) strengthening demand-led research for development.

Resources of CLIMALG-SN

  • What is the current status of seaweed biodiversity in Senegal?

    How did sea weed biodiversity change over the last decades?

    How do seaweed habitats influence the local biodiversity, especially fish stocks?

    What is the influence of human activities (e.g. harvesting, local pollution) on seaweed and its associated biodiversity?

    Why could previous seaweed exploitation initiatives not be sustained?

    What is the current interest in the seaweed of local stakeholders?

    How can the seaweed sector be increased in a sustainable manner?

    Which stakeholders can be involved?

    How to maximize the benefits for the local communities under gender consideration?

  • Activities

    • Establish clustering activities and co-design the project with stakeholders in close relation with dissemination actions
    • Conduct exchanges through kick-of meeting, regular web- meetings, workshops and final meeting to co-design project, technical notes, policy briefs
    • Implement the expectations from stakeholders and policymakers with regard to data sharing and implementation of activities taking into account current initiatives
    • Manage and coordinate Nagoya- requirements of sample and data exchange
    • Setup a CLIMALG-SN website with public and internal access as a central hub to store and exchange project data and information, disseminate and communicate activities
    • Create database of Senegalese seaweed as community-owned information hub (existing knowledge, biodiversity, content, publications, etc.)
  • Activities 

    • Revise the diversity of seaweeds in different habitats and under different management approaches (e.g. harvested versus untouched) along the Senegalese coast, through DNA barcoding of several genetic markers
    • Investigate metazoan (including fish) and general biodiversity associated with these habitats through metabarcoding  at the species and ecosystem level
    • Investigate the potential of differently managed seaweed to preserve, improve and restore coastal biodiversity
    • Provide biodiversity indices and structure across Senegal and its habitat types
    • Establish a baseline for the influence of environmental conditions and pressures on the Senegal seaweed biodiversity and its associated biodiversity
    • Elaborate and apply a standard biodiversity monitoring protocol, forming the basis of a season-wide monitoring program to record biodiversity indicators
  • Activities 

    • Map and understand converging interests among stakeholders that result from multiple ecosystem services of macroalgae conservation, cultivation, and harvesting by  socio-economic surveys and prior data collections
    • Propose governance measures that are adaptive enough to circumstances of coastal communities and support increased investments and innovations required in a more-efficient and climate-resilient macroalgae economy 
    • Conduct a laboratory pilot production, to demonstrate the techniques of cultivation and vegetative reproduction of algae using ISRA/IRD greenhouse facilities
    • Train and inform local communities and women associations  about the seaweed value (cultivation techniques, seaweed nutritional value, seaweed exploitation value chain, etc..), analyze valorisation in Zanzibar/Tanzania
    • Investigate the causes of the failure of previous sea weed initiatives in Senegal
    • Give relevant inputs for policy-makers in order to support this sector (operating licences and concessions, subsidies, etc…)
  • Activities

    • Define and coordinate communication needs for different stakeholders as tools for disseminating outcomes (flyers, posters, articles, press releases, etc)  and promote the project
    • Set up social media channels and provide information to interest groups regularly
    • Disseminate project results through scientific publications, reports, and recommendations
    • Capacity building and education for local stakeholders
    • Make and release a film on seaweed (TV, YouTube, WhatsApp, Facebook, Twitter)
    • Report to Senegalese policy-makers and other stakeholders on the efficiency of different seaweed management approach in West Africa
    • Extend the results found in Senegal to the sub-regional level