The project aims to establish an operational framework for minimising by-catch of seabirds and sea turtles in West Africa industrial fisheries and to implement it across the region.
Anna Mbenga-Cham, director of Fisheries, said by-catch of seabirds and sea turtles are very serious threats that necessitated the training of the stakeholders in order to mitigate the threats faced by seabirds and sea turtles in trawlers and long-line operations at sea.
She explained that, in 2009, Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) developed guidelines to reduce sea turtle mortality in fishing operations.
The guideline provides management options for reducing interaction between sea turtles and fishing gears and reducing the proportion of turtles caught that are killed as a result of interaction with marine capture fisheries, she said.
She added that the conservation and management of wildlife in the open ocean poses logistical, financial and technical challenges to marine wildlife.
Cyrille Mbangue, Communications Officer of Regional Coastal and Marine Conservative for West Africa (PRCM), said PRCM is one of the main actors in marine conservation in West Africa.
“We want to help in harmonising the governance of fisheries and legislations but moreover, issues related to fisheries,” he added.
The by-catch project is working on the reduction of marine incidental catch of birds and marine turtles in the region, he said.
Seabirds and sea turtles share the same characteristics of breeding on land, favoring undisturbed coastlines and islands, he said, adding that both groups often experience threats in their breeding areas and at sea.