31.3.17 | A three-day workshop in Banjul (The Gambia) brought the AWA project to an end this week. 26 scientists from West Africa, Germany and France met in the Gambian capital to discuss research results of the project and possible future cooperation.

Under the overall topic „Ecology of West African estuaries as important habitats for fisheries: a review and perspectives“, scientists from the Leibniz Centre for Tropical Marine Research (ZMT) presented their sub projects. Their work has largely contributed to the understanding of the role of the Sine Saloum estuary in Senegal and serve as model for the planning of further activities in the region.

Participants from Benin, Ivory Coast, The Gambia, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Mauritania, Senegal, Sierra Leone – countries from the Subregional Fisheries Commission – presented and discussed their works and needs for action.

The Gambian Minister for Fisheries, Hon. James P.F. Gomez, and his state secretary, Dr. Bamba Banja, attened the last day of the workshop spending a lot of time to get information about the results and listen to future project ideas. After the political changes of the last months the country is anxious to build fisheries as an important economic sector welcoming support from outside.

Description of the Workshop
The workshop on the Ecology of West African estuaries as important habitats for fisheries: a review and perspectives is embedded in the overall frame and goals of the trilateral integrated AWA project (Ecosystem Approach to the management of fisheries and the marine environment in West African waters). Major work within AWA was focussed on the important small pelagics fisheries in the upwelling of the Canary Current System. Less emphasis was put so far on the coastal fisheries and the role of coastal ecosystems such as estuaries for the development and life cycles of estuarine and coastal fish. The workshop intends to collect information on past and new research carried out in West African estuaries, present results of AWA subprojects related to coastal systems and discuss research needs and potential research fields, cooperation and funding opportunities to strengthen this important branch of coastal research in the area to improve fisheries management in the context of global change and encourage South South and North South collaborations.