USAID/COMFISH: Institutional capacity refers to the ability of fisheries institutions and fisheries stakeholders to practice co-management, manage access to the fisheries, and reduce effort wherever fisheries are overfished. To empower fishermen, women in the fisheries sector, fisheries associations, and national and sub-national fisheries governance, the project focused on building a functional system of governance structures for fisheries co-management on the scale of species’ ecosystems and strengthening women’s involvement in decision making in the fisheries sector and increasing their benefits.
Co-management capacity development was achieved at a much greater level than initially anticipated. The geographic scope of the project was expanded to include St. Louis in the north and Casamance in the south. In the end 21 CLPAs had their organizational structures developed into a framework for exchange and consultation on fisheries management. CLPA institutional and stakeholder capacity were also strengthened through the retrofitting and equipping of offices and meeting spaces; training and extensive application in the use of locally selected “relays” to communicate, motivate, and organize CLPA activities; capacity building of volunteer fisheries monitoring groups and CLPA self-surveillance at sea; strengthening and behavior change in administrative and financial management; internal mobilization of funds; and training in organization and community dynamics (ODC) and resource management. In addition, local authorities located in the project areas received significant support (through studies and meetings) enabling them to better understand the importance of fishing in their area, with a view to contributing to the financing of CLPAs. The project carried out a series of biological, spatial, and socio-economic studies and analyzes with five key partners to support the process of setting up participatory fisheries co-management plans.
The use of Local Agreements in maritime fisheries was an innovation of the USAID/COMFISH project, the development and implementation of which enabled the reorganization and the operationalization of the CLPAs. These initiatives have also been regularly evaluated internally in order not only to assess challenges and effectiveness in the implementation of the Local Agreement rules but also to identify the activities that will feed into the annual action plans of the CLPAs. This process included training over 13,775 people (34% women) through 596 training workshops on administrative and financial management, hygiene and sanitation, participatory surveillance, safety at sea, use of meteorological data, adaptation to climate change, and good fishing practices. More than 42,837 people have been involved in the implementation and application of new technologies, strategies and tools developed by the project in the intervention sites.
USAID/COMFISH Plus: The project is building on the achievements of USAID/COMFISH Plus with a focus on:
1. Continued support to increased CLPA institutional capacity towards full functionality, including training in organizational, administrative and financial management skills; Organizational Capacity Assessment (OCA) processes; and solutions for self-financing. The project will support monitoring and implementation of the existing nine Local Agreements and support the 13 step process for new Local Agreements to be signed in seven CLPAs in the Sine Saloum Delta.
2. Enhanced capacity to address Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated fishing (IUU). The project will facilitate meetings with the Directorate of Fisheries Protection and Surveillance (DPSP) and CLPA-based Sea safety and Surveillance Committees as COMFISH Plus continues to co-finance participatory surveillance of illegal artisanal fishing activities in the CLPAs. COMFISH Plus will also explore and support actions at the national level and regional level to combat IUU fishing. The national IUU Action Plan has been endorsed by the relevant authorities. The project will support the Ministry of Fisheries and Maritime Economy (MPEM) and the Department of Fisheries Protection and Surveillance (DPSP) to implement the Action Plan.