Protected areas in the Casamance

Relying on its method of participatory management, Oceanium worked towards the creation of two more protected areas in the Senegalese Casamance region. Faced with a sharp decrease in marine resources and the arrival of thousands of migrating fishermen, especially in Elinkine, Petit Pointe and Kafountine, the villages organised themselves to protect their resources and sustain food security.

The first area is situated on the islands of Petit Kassa in the Casamance river. It is related to Hitou, Bakasouk, Haer, and Niomoune, four villages that are members of the administrative division of Kafountine (communauté rurale). The protected surface covers around 20,000 hectares.

The second one relates to the site of Pointe Saint-Georges, where one of the last families of manatees (sea cows) in West Africa comes to soak every day. Initially planned for the Pointe site, the protected area has been extended to the whole rural community of Mlomp, following demands of the villages. The protected surface now extends over about 15,000 hectares.

Indigenous and Community Conserved Area (ICCA)

For these two sites of Mlomp and Kafountine, Oceanium and the local rural communities opted for an ICCA status (Indigenous and Community Conserved Area). Following on the decentralisation laws of 1996, both sites got the ICCA status according to a law on rural communities. After calling a preliminary accord among all the villagers, the proposal was finally approved by the regional council in Ziguinchor.

The ICCA status will allow the people to manage and supervise their protected area themselves which is recognised by the regional fishing authorities (services des pêches). These two projects are inspired by Kawawana in Mangagoulack, the first ICCA in Senegal, which are examples of good community management with a strong volunteer involvement of villagers.

Oceanium offers eco tours around the two ICCAs, which brings additional revenues and thereby proves that an intact environment is also a vehicle for economic development.

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