Coastal Fisheries Initiative

“We must observe biological rest periods”

World Oceans Day: message from a woman seafood processor in Senegal


8 June, Dakar/Foundiougne/Rome - Ndèye Isseu Ndiaye is a seafood processor from the coastal community of Foundiougne, in Senegal’s Saloum Delta.

This married mother of six helps to support her household by producing dried and semi-conserved shrimp.

She says that shrimp and other marine creatures have become scarce in her lifetime.

”We have noticed a rarity of fish and of some other species,” says Isseu. ”If we take the example of shrimp, it is only available two months out of the year.”

The community has also noticed that there are periods when the shrimp are ”heavy” and others when they are ”thin”.

”We think this is related to the salinity of the sea. The more the salinity, the thinner the shrimp. This has an impact on the final product: thin shrimp are no good,” explains Isseu.

Increased salinity means fewer nutrients and therefore undernourished shrimp, confirms Dr Modou Thiaw from the Dakar-Thiaroye Center for Oceanograhic Research (CRODT, in its French acronym).

Fisherfolk must help preserve ocean resources

The most important thing that seafood harvesters and fishers can do to preserve the ocean and its resources is to respect biological rest periods so that species have time to replenish themselves, says Isseu.

”As we say, the sea is our salary. It is clear that we must rationalize our use of the resources,” she adds.

The need for alternatives and support

Isseu adds that she and her fellow seafood processors, the majority of whom are women, are already looking to a future without fisheries.

”We hope to develop alternative activities to meet our needs,” says Isseu, who is a member of the Local Artisanal Fisheries Council (CLPA, in its French acronym).

”If we place all our hopes in this fishery when oil exploitation is looming, we risk being disillusioned,” she explains.

About CFI-WA

”We are already thinking about it. We have some ideas, but we are asking for support”.

CFI-WA covers Cabo Verde, Côte d'Ivoire and Senegal. The Initiative works with stakeholders and authorities to strengthen fisheries governance and management and improve the seafood value chain and working conditions, with a focus on empowering women. It is implemented by FAO in partnership with UNEP/Abidjan Convention and funded by the Global Environment Facility (GEF).