The ZMT forms part of a consortium that initiated the trilateral cooperation project “Ecosystem approach to the management of fisheries and the marine environment in West African waters (AWA)”. The integrated project is being coordinated by the Thünen Institute for Fisheries, Hamburg, and the Institut de recherche pour le développement (IRD), France.
One of the most important fish species in the West African estuarine and coastal fisheries is the Bonga shad (Ethmalosa fimbriata), a clupeid species occurring from Senegal to Angola. Senegal contributes about 13 000 t (compared to formerly 30 000 t) to a total catch of 230 000 t in the whole distribution area. The fish stocks suffer from bad management and environmental degradation.
In the frame of the ZMT’s sub-projects, the dynamics and productivity of the Bonga shad and the potential of the southern estuaries as a recruitment and nursery area for coastal fishes will be investigated. The project comprises the following tasks:
Assessment of the population structure and potential for fisheries of Bonga shad
Identification of the spawning area and intensity, spawning season and fecundity of the species
Age, growth and production potential of the species and its relationship to environmental conditions
Investigation of the potential of the estuaries to function as nursery areas by assessment of the abundance and distribution of fish larvae in the estuaries
Assessment of exchange processes between the estuaries and adjacent coastal waters and their importance for larval transport
The ZMT is also responsible for the training and capacity building elements in the project. Summer schools, special courses and training cruises on research ships are envisaged to be performed as accompanying activities to the research work.