GUARDIANS OF THE SEA
EMPOWERING FISHERS TO PROTECT MARINE BIODIVERSITY
In Cabo Verde, coastal fisheries play an essential role in supporting the nutritional health and livelihoods of many communities – especially to those living in remote areas without access to other sources of food or income. The fisheries sector also provides over 10,200 direct jobs across the archipelago. But illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing practices have left many fishers with increasingly empty nets.
To help combat this problem, reduce illegal bycatch and provide a network of peer support to local fishers, Project Biodiversity has implemented Guardians of the Sea, a community-based monitoring initiative spearheaded by Maio Biodiversity Foundation that empowers fishers to track marine megafauna (turtles, whales, dolphins), as well as report illegal fishing activities including intentional capture of turtles and other keystone species that are essential to the health of local marine ecosystems.
This project is supported by the Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund and the Global Environment Facility (GEF) – Small Grants Programme.
Illegal fishing methods are a significant contributor to the decline in local fish stock. As part of the programme, fishers participate in ongoing workshops and trainings regarding fisheries legislation and best practices for sustainable fisheries, and are supported with supplies that help improve fish catch hygiene and reduce marine pollution.
The Guardians of the Sea also monitor and report illegal fishing infractions and marine life capture that contribute to fisheries decline. With better knowledge of the scope of the problem, the results can contribute essential data that can aid in informing better fisheries policy on both a local and national level.
Fishers participate in a series of workshops to enhance their knowledge of fisheries biology, and the environmental impact of illegal fishing activities on both the ecosystem and their catch size. By establishing a personal connection to the health of the ecosystem, fishers are inspired to adhere to sustainable practices in the long term.
Our Guardians of the Sea fishers share a deep commitment to their craft, and a desire for a better future for fisheries on Sal. In this video, fisher Octavio, known affectionately as "Tav" shares his journey as a fisherman and what being a Guardian of the Sea means to him.
Fishers actively participating in collaborative monitoring and recording of marine life and fisheries infractions.
participating boats in the fishing communities of Santa Maria, Pedra de Lume, and Palmeira.
Fishers actively collaborating in the island-wide campaign "Pesca Sustentável, do Mar ao Prato" to adhere to the legal catch size for target fish species.