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. Additionally, Gabon’s old-growth mangrove forests make it the most carbon positive nation in the world, serve as a buffer against storms, and provide food for its coastal communities as well as a home for myriad fish, crab, shrimp and other sea life.
Protecting Africa’s Last Eden
Legal fisheries contribute around 1.5% of Gabon’s gross domestic product (GDP) at $300 million, with small-scale fisheries accounting for approximately $185 million or 61.5% of that.
WildAid launched a partnership with the National Fisheries and Aquaculture Agency, the Direction Générale de Pêches et de l’Aquaculture (DGPA), in 2022 to enhance surveillance and enforcement capacity across the Gabonese EEZ, consisting of over 200,000 km2.
Putting Our Model Into Action
We established a Marine Protection System strategy for Gabon’s EEZ and are currently in the Implementation stage.
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.
WildAid Marine hosted the first in-person training session in over a decade for the country’s fisheries inspectors from DGPA, who protect Gabon’s EEZ from illegal fishing, including its network of MPAs.
We plan to 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 strategy developed for Gabon’s EEZ.
Surveillance kits purchased for fisheries inspector teams allowing them to better stop illegal fishing activity.
Comprehensive training conducted for fisheries inspectors, consisting of seven modules focused on fisheries regulations, boarding and inspection operations, safety and first aid, and use of the new vessel monitoring system and Skylight.