Ecosystem Approach to the management of fisheries and the marine environment in West African waters

Ecosystem Approach to the management of fisheries and the marine environment in West African waters
General information
The global change disrupts the ecosystem and thus the dynamic of renewable marine resources exploited. In West African countries among all impacts of the global change the overexploitation have been well studied but lesser the impact of climate change particularly on small scale fisheries, despite that in these countries the management of fisheries resources is of major importance. Ecological models are invaluable tools for managers and decision-makers. Nevertheless, there are persistent problems in the adequacy of pelagic marine resources models to mimic reality or simulate different scenarios for management studies if the organisation and functioning of the ecosystem is not well understood. The ecological models which reproduce biological interactions of marine organisms in their habitat (i.e. ecosystem) are in their early stages, thus need coordinated efforts in several disciplines to characterise effectively global change particularly climate change or other anthropogenic perturbations introduced on the continental shelf of West Africa. Though, currently such a tool is nearly the only approach to major investigations for the dilemmas which decision-makers are faced in the context of global change and overexploitation. The interactions between the fisheries scientist, physical oceanographer and biogeochemist are very low leading independents actions targeting the same ecosystem in which evolve exploited marine resources. Despite these problems manager require efficient tools for decision making. Best practices will be to work on observational methods which allow validation of key ecological processes (identified collectively) to develop and improve the models, for efficient assessment and scenario simulation purposes, in the context of global change. In any case an improvement of information transfer using standardized formats between all African partners (sharing common stocks) and development of studies on the structure and functioning of the ecosystem will allow to progress toward a better assessment of marine biological resources, a better knowledge on their interactions in the ecosystems and a clearer overview of the effect of global change.
Start February, 2013 End January, 2017
Funding (total) - Funding (GEOMAR) 230 T€
Funding body BMBF Programme
Contact Peter Brandt