About the conference

The 1st international conference on macroalgae “Seaweed for blue economies, biodiversity and ecosystem services - an opportunity at sub-regional level” in the CSRP Permanent Secretariat opened new development perspectives for the blue economy and research. It evolved around the results of the CLIMALG-SN project  and was  organized by the Institut de recherche pour le développement (IRD), ISRA - Institut Sénégalais de Recherches Agricoles, Geomar Helmholtz-Zentrum für Ozeanforschung Kiel,  IGZ Leibniz-Institut für Gemüse- und Zierpflanzenbau and UCAD Dakar Senegal.

Thanks to  the MeerWissen initiative, the project Climalg-SN,  funded by the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH and to the support of CNRS, University of Dar es Salaam, Université de Nouakchott Al Aasriya,  and the Safe Seaweed Coalition, the roundtables held on site and remotely highlighted the need to improve knowledge on the identification of seaweeds and their valorization in the sub region.

After the warm welcome by the CSRP acting permanent secretary Mouhamadou Seck, we were honored by the opening of the conference by Sellé Paoulou Mbengue, director of the DGEFM (Direction de la Gestion et de l'Exploiation des Fonds marins) of the MPEM (Ministère des Pêches et de l'Econome Maritime of Senegal) and Theodor PROFFE, Head of Mission, Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany in Dakar, who all underlined the importance of the topic and of this first confernce about the economic, social and environmental potential of the sustainable use of seaweeds in the sub-region.

The conference in French, was moderated by Dr Patrice Brehmer and Dr Waly Ndiaye and the first outcomes of the CLIMALG-SN project were presented, including 16 posters of the project team and partners.

In 2021 and 2022 the team has conducted more than 70 field trips, collected more than 1000 samples all along the Senegalese coast and made more than 7000 photos and films from the beaches the seaweed species and the underwater realm, some of which can be explored in a map, created from the project and linked here. The samples are in analysis for their genetic identification, their nutrient, pigment and heavy metal content. The photos and films are stored in accessible media databases and it is possible to jointly work with them.

The young seaweed enthusiasts, in whose education the project CLIMALG-SN heavily invested, presented their work on the biodiversity and valorization. The PhD students Ndeye Bousso and Mamie Diop from CLIMALG-SN continue their work with Prof. Mame Mbaye from the Université Cheikh Anta DIOP de Dakar (UCAD) and Prof. Cheikhou KANE from the L’École Supérieure Polytechnique (ESP). Mamie is currently in Germany on a DAAD-stipend, where she is developing an eDNA-method for red seaweed together with Dr. Florian Weinberger, and Dr. Waly Ndiaye and Ndeye are working on the cultivation of Meristotheca in a project funded by the Safe Seaweed Coalition, the recent global initiative, promoting the safe and sustainable valorisation of seaweed.  

During the intense two days, scientists from Senegal and neighbouring countries, including Mauritania, Gambia, Guinea, Guine-Bissau and Cabo Verde, representatives from the private and public sectors, from marine economy and environment, NGO’s (e.g students of P.E.R.S.A.I.VERT), decision makers, universities and research institutions vividly exchanged about the biodiversity and valorisation of seaweed (macroalgae, sea vegetables) in the sub-region with the seaweed experts Philippe Potin from the Safe Seaweed Coalition, Florian Weinberger from GEOMAR and Anna Fricke from  the IGZDr. Flower MSUYA (University of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania), head of the Zanzibar Seaweed Cluster Initiative (ZaSCI), which was visited by Waly during the project, presented in her keynote speech the potentials for a unified and scaled out industry of seaweed aquaculture in Africa. Dr. Maya Pfaff from the MeerWissen initiative opened the second day with a welcome on the MeerWissen goals.

It was fun, a lot was learned, many ideas and information were exchanged and many unknowns were identified in the agenda towards a sustainable development of the coasts of Senegal and the sub-region: valorising seaweed habitats and the cultivation of macroalgae for the preservation of biodiversity and for their potential to foster blue growth. Mariama Faye from the National Agency of Aquaculture (ANA) highlighted the need for exchange and cooperation.


After a day of presentations around taxonomic, genomic and metagenomic identification and exploitation of local macroalgae, the conference members discussed during two round tables, that they would like to establish a sub-regional partnership with frequent exchanges on the evolution of their seaweed biodiversity and its valorisation, taking advantage of the CLIMALG-SN result, towards joint actions and research activities including the international community.

Thus, the conference set spark for many actors to join their forces and expertise to unlock the full potential of the seaweed sector in Senegal and the sub-region. Saving it for its benefits in biodiversity, realizing the value of nuisance beachcast as a resource, and the value of sustainable cultivation and valorization of the rich seaweed flora, still existing at the coasts.

The conference proceedings will appear soon and will further contribute to the sustainable management and protection of marine and coastal ecosystems through the increase of scientific knowledge. We keep you posted.


The program and videorecordings of the conference can be found here