Gabon’s waters are home to the world’s largest nesting population of leatherback sea turtles, critically endangered humpback dolphins, humpback whale calving grounds, and over 60 species of sharks and rays.
Protecting Africa’s Last Eden
Legal fisheries contribute $1.3 billion to the Gabonese economy, which is around 9% of the Gabonese Gross Domestic Product (GDP), while small-scale fisheries alone contribute $800 million to the total economy.
WildAid Marine launched a new project at four pilot sites in Gabon’s coastal marine protected area (MPA) network in 2018 to pave the way for improved enforcement throughout the region.
Gabon: The Challenge
We started working in Gabon to ensure enforcement of the Gabon Bleu initiative, which designated 24% of its waters as MPAs. Illegal fishing results in a $610 million net loss to the total Gabonese GDP per year. Thus, rangers must have the training and equipment necessary to protect their waters.
Putting Our Model Into Action
We helped our partners reach the Implementation stage and develop a comprehensive Marine Protection System Plan for four MPAs.
We provided surveillance equipment, including a thermal monocular, which helps catch poachers at night, VHF radios, night vision binoculars, smartphones, and emergency beacons, which allow fishing vessel observers to call for help.
In 2020, WildAid Marine will begin a robust training program with the Gabonese National Agency of National Parks (ANPN), which protects Gabon’s new network of MPAs.
In 2020, we will develop a fundraising strategy to secure additional support for critical operations.
We will help our partners create community engagement initiatives that address gaps and foster support for marine conservation and fisheries regulations.
Our Marine Protection System Plan addresses legal loopholes to ensure effective consequences for illegal fishing and environmental infractions.
Marine Protection System Plan developed for Gabon’s national network of 20 marine protected areas (MPAs).
EcoGuard teams fully equipped with surveillance and enforcement equipment, allowing them to better stop illegal fishing activity.
increase in illegal fishing arrests since 2017, as a result of improved enforcement operations.