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New plan to unlock potential of Senegalese oyster sector

Stakeholders support FISH4ACP roadmap to a more sustainable, profitable and inclusive value chain

23 February 2020, Dakar – Increased local production, better jobs for women producers and less pressure on the environment are among the main objectives set by a development plan for Senegal’s oyster sector, agreed upon by stakeholders and experts in Senegal last week. The agreement provides a clear agenda for FISH4ACP, working to strengthen the sector and safeguard the environment.   

 “Senegal has the natural resources and demand for oysters on the national market for a flourishing oyster sector,” said Babacar Banda Diop, Director of the Fisheries Processing Industry Direction (DITP) within the Ministry of Maritime Economy and Fisheries (MPEM) at a meeting in Senegal where sector representatives adopted a new plan for the sustainable development of oyster production. S/he added: “This plan will allow us to increase production while protecting the mangroves where oysters grow and offer better jobs to the women who harvest and farm them.” 

Spearheaded by FISH4ACP, a global initiative aimed at making fisheries and aquaculture value chains in Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific more productive and sustainable, the plan was elaborated involving a wide array of experts and stakeholders, including harvesters and farmers from all Senegal’s oyster producing regions. This wide-ranging participation ensures that the ambitious agenda for the future of oyster production is firmly embedded in the sector. 

Over the next ten years, the oyster value chain is to become a catalyst for economic and social development, based on sustainable and equitable exploitation that contributes to the empowerment of women. This transformation would lead to production that could nearly cover domestic demand and create thousands of jobs with higher incomes, while ensuring abundance of oyster stocks would increase. 

The plan is based on a study conducted by FISH4ACP last year in cooperation with the Dakar Oceanographic Research Center-Thiaroye [read more], which found that despite a yearly production of an estimated 16 000 tonnes - most of which is harvested with just 400 tonnes coming from oyster farming - demand for oysters on the domestic market exceeds supply.  

The study also showed that most of the work is done by women from the southern provinces of Casamance and Siné-Saloum. They represent 90% of an estimated 13 000 people involved. Oysters are key to their livelihoods, but revenues are hardly enough to feed their families, leaving most women in need of additional sources of income, such as agriculture.    

“This agreement is an important milestone and paves the way for an integrated and strategic development of the oyster value chain  in Senegal,” said Gilles van de Walle, FISH4ACP’s Chief Technical Advisor, who explained that FISH4ACP will focus on increasing added value and stimulating oyster farming, stressing the need for improved sanitary services and a better understanding of the oyster species and the areas in which it can be produced.   

FISH4ACP is an initiative of the Organisation of African, Caribbean and Pacific States (OACPS) contributing to food and nutrition security, economic prosperity and job creation by ensuring the economic, social and environmental sustainability of fisheries and aquaculture in Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific. FISH4ACP is implemented by FAO with funding from the European Union (EU) and the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ).