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Ecosystem Approach to the management of fisheries and the marine environment in West African waters (AWA)


Capacity Development in Nordwest Afrika (c) Thünen-Institut/Maik Tiedemann
Auf den Ebenen der edukativen Nachhaltigkeit (Education), inhaltlichen Nachhaltigkeit (Research) und der strukturellen Nachhaltigkeit (Governance) arbeiten wir zusammen mit afrikanischen, französischen und deutschen Partnern im AWA Projekt (Ecosystem Approach to the management of fisheries and the marine environment in West African waters) für ein besseres Verständnis des Meeresökosystems vor Nordwest Afrika und der Umsetzung eines nachhaltigen Fischereimanagements. (© Thünen-Institut/Maik Tiedemann)

The project is part of a strategic partnership to West African countries, putting forward a vision of ecosystem-based management of regional natural resources.

Background and Objective

The project proposes setting up a strategic partnership capable of developing the vision of an Ecosystem Approach to the management of the marine environment, which includes an ecosystem approach to fisheries in West African waters, and providing the scientific basis this requires. AWA calls for a multidisciplinary approach combining marine and fishery ecology, biogeochemistry, physical oceanography and climate science. It will also involve a strong monitoring and modelling component.

Target Group

Politics, science


Both aims of the AWA project were achieved successfully, i.e. to establish an African network of marine resource managers and researchers and to enhance marine science in the West-Sahara region.

ICAWA meetings (International Conference Ecosystem Approach to the management of fisheries and the marine environment in West African waters) were the main vehicle to establish this network, with four conferences being held from 2014-2017 (ICAWA I-III in Dakar, ICAWA IV in Mindelo). The ICAWA concept of combining scientific presentations with fora for stakeholder participation proved to be successful.  The Thünen Ph.D. candidate Maik Tiedemann delivered prize winning presentations in 2014 and 2015 in the section 'Variability of pelagic productivity in West-African waters'. AWA was present in the 'green zone' of CoP21 and CoP22, the United  Nations Framework  Convention on  Climate Change  21st  & 22nd Conference of the Parties.

Results obtained during FRV Walther Herwig III cruises 375 (2014) and 383 (2015) and RV Meteor cruise 129 (2016) contributed significantly to the understanding of the West-african upwelling ecosystem. The distribution of fish eggs revealed spawning grounds of commercially important fish species(Badji et al. 2017). Larval studies indicated the affiliation to water masses and larval retention mechanisms, so that they persist in favourable upwelling habitats.    

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Involved Thünen-Partners

Involved external Thünen-Partners


2.2013 - 1.2017

More Information

Projekt type:
Project status: finished