Searching for FIPs in West Africa
The target of this piece of work was Morocco, Mauritania and Senegal, with fisheries ranging from high seas tuna to artisanal canoe fisheries for sole, mullet and shrimp.
But what makes this region stand out is its small pelagic fisheries - a huge resource supported by the deep water upwellings at the centre the Canary Current Large Marine Ecosystem (LME). The task was to map the supply chains associated with the various fisheries undertaken along this coastline and identify where improvements in the fishery management and governance systems could make for more sustainable / more responsible resource management. What is being sought is potential Fishery Improvement Projects (FIPs) where focused effort could yield significant fishery / supply chain benefits.
An interesting quandary is - who for? to whose advantage? The area has an interesting politico-economic geography. The higher and denser coastal populations are found in the northernmost and southernmost areas, whilst the central region - the desert coastline of northern Mauritania and the Western Sahara - has large stretches of coastline with no residents. But arguably most of the fish resource is found off that central region - and is predominantly harvested by large industrial scale third country vessels. Conversely, by far the largest number of coastal households are supported by small scale, mainly canoe / skiff, fisheries exploiting inshore resources.
To cap it all, lying less than 100kms off the coast of Western Sahara is the major port and seafood entrepôt of Las Palmas, part of the Spanish owned Canary Islands. This is centre to many of the industrial scale seafood supply chains - used as a place of discharge and pick-up, a major regional transshipment point, and the go-to place for vessel repairs, maintenance and crew changes.
Altogether an interesting collision of large and small, industrial and artisanal, indigenous supply chains and global supply chains.