Photos of the mangrove reforestation will be published here.

Joal, 9 June, 2023 – At a series of World Oceans Day events in Joal, Senegal, yesterday (8 June) fishing communities and members of civil society demonstrated that only concrete action on the ground can help restore fish stocks. Fishermen, women fish processors and members of civil society took their destiny into their own hands by reforesting mangroves – ecosystems that are vital for the regeneration of fish stocks.

The traditional fishing town of Joal is located close to mangrove forests, which are essential breeding and nursery grounds for many fish species, and are therefore vital for the survival of West African fishing communities. Mangroves also store more carbon than tropical forests. They are therefore essential for preventing climate change and the increase in extreme weather phenomena that will affect Africa first and worst

Madeleine Ndiaye, from local environmental association Agire, said: “Mangrove reforestation like this has been very successful in the Sine-Saloum delta, in Casamance and in the whole coastal region. Today, by planting these mangroves, we are showing that local communities have the power to protect their own livelihoods. Even if the authorities have failed in their responsibility to manage our resources, it is our duty to protect them to ensure a future for our children.”

Astou Fall, a fish processor from Joal, said: “Joal is a traditional fishing town, we depend mainly on the ocean and its resources. Like all of West Africa’s coastal communities, we have seen catches collapse over the years. This is the result of poor fishing management and the massive increase in trawlers. I’m joining the reforestation team today because I want the fish to come back, and then I’ll see my stalls full of fish to process again.” 

Abdou Karim Sall, President of the Plateforme des Acteurs de la Pêche Artisanale au Sénégal (PAPAS), said: “For years, we’ve been asking the authorities to regulate industrial fishing and close down fishmeal factories. And it’s because we’ve organized ourselves to demand change that, little by little, the authorities are starting to listen to us. But while we wait for stronger measures from the authorities, we’re doing concrete things like reforestation. Our authorities must not give trawlers access to our seas, while local fishermen struggle to fill our nets. We’re organising to find solutions. For greater transparency in fisheries management, the authorities should publish the list of vessels that are allowed to fish in our waters.”

Following a press conference prior to the reforestation activity, Abdoulaye Ndiaye, Campaigner for Greenpeace Africa, said: “Fishermen, processors and environmental organisations are providing concrete solutions to the problem of overfishing, because the authorities are not assuming their responsibilities. A watchdog group made up of fishermen’s groups was recently set up to expose irresponsible fishing, following the revelation by Greenpeace Africa of the incursion into our waters of a 120-meter trawler, the Vasiliy Filippov, without a fishing license. The presence of such a vessel in a region where fish stocks are limited is making things worse for the communities who depend on fish for their survival. The long-awaited Presidential Fishing Council should be an opportunity to revisit the challenges facing Senegal’s fishing sector, and propose solutions to meet them.”

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Richard Power Sayeed,
International communications
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Amagor Robert Niang
Media and Communication Officer 
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