Defining socially-inclusive strategies for conserving fish functional diversity and promoting sustainable blue economy “INDUCE”

Country/Region
Senegal/West Africa
 

Project duration August 2020 to September 2022 

project summary

Senegal is a coastal and Sahelian country with a wide range of rural areas, hosting unique and diverse species. The coastlines and deltas are characterized by highly productive marine ecosystems and are hotspots for large populations of fish. Fishes are critical to maintain ecosystem functions and services, including food provision and creation of jobs for the fishing industry. However, Senegal coastal ecosystems face numerous environmental issues linked to human activities. Solid scientific knowledge on how environmental stress affects biodiversity in the region is in urgent need to guide mitigation strategies aimed at conserving biodiversity and promoting sustainable economic growth. Biodiversity has traditionally been quantified as the number of species in each ecosystem, thus failing to account for the ecological role that species play within ecosystems. Functional diversity, measured by how species interact with the environment and with other species, has emerged as a more effective link between biodiversity and ecosystem functions and services. Despite functional diversity is key to ecosystem services valuable to humans, this metric is rarely considered in the discourse connecting science to governance and policy.

The overall goal of this project is to produce sound scientific knowledge for the conservation of fish functional diversity from socially inclusive and environmentally sustainable economic growth perspectives in Senegal. Collected data will constitute the basis for the development of capacities and management strategies in support of the National Biodiversity Strategies and Action Plan (NBSAP) and according to the Plan Senegal Emergent (PSE) and Access and Benefit Sharing (ABS) principles.

 

Produce sound scientific knowledge for the conservation of fish functional diversity from socially inclusive and environmentally sustainable economic growth perspectives in Senegal


Assess the status of fish functional diversity and determine the links with ecosystem functions and services


Build capacities for functional diversity management and research. Preserving the functional diversity of fish and, at the same time, promote the economic growth of the fishery industry require the development of specialised expertise among the new generation of graduate students


Analyse the effectiveness of existing governance frameworks in relation to maintaining fish functional diversity


Steer the integration of the acquired science-based and socially-inclusive knowledge into the agendas of policy makers

 

areas of work

Assess the status of fish functional diversity and determine the links with ecosystem functions and services

  • Fish data are collected from different fish markets, ranging from large to small
  • Storage of data on multiple, open-access platforms to foster reproducibility of our assessments, transparency, and flow of ideas, will be shared with and discusses by all project partners, stakeholders, and policy makers
  • Publication of results in a scientific article, will constitute the scientific basis for analysing the effectiveness of existing governance frameworks

Building capacities for functional diversity management and research

  • Development of specialized expertise among the new generation of
  • graduate students Organise a Winter School for graduate students on modern data science techniques for analysing ecological and socioeconomic data, conservation of functional diversity, and sustainability
  • MSc and PhD students with different background and interests primarily from Senegal, other West African countries, and Germany

Gather the perceptions of resource users and the local population with the aim of assessing the effectiveness of existing governance models

  • Use of surveys and ethnographic methods like participant observation during focus group discussions to gather perspectives and understand social (mental) constructs on functional diversity issues
  • Two MSc theses and a synthesis peer-reviewed article will be produced, and new governance models could be developed, as appropriate

Steering integration of the acquired science-based and socially-inclusive knowledge into the agendas of policy makers

  • Engagement with a range of communication and outreach activities, including participation to conferences and production of flyers summarising the main outcomes
  • Organise a workshop to bring scientists, stakeholders and policy makers on a common table for discussing and synthesising the results obtained and for producing a shared and a mutually accepted model of conservation and economic development
  • Produce a policy brief report for the broad scientific community and the wide public. Given the multi-sectorial and conclusive character of this measure, all partners will participate

Partners

African Institute for Mathematical Sciences (AIMS)

Oceanographic Research Center of Dakar-Thiaroye (CRODT)

Leibniz Centre for Tropical Marine Research (ZMT)