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Fisherman storing fishing nets in a fishing community in Príncipe. Photo by Ana Nuno

Improving the lives of coastal communities in Central Africa

University of Exeter experts will work to improve the livelihoods of coastal communities and conserve marine life in Central Africa.

Academics will work in the Republic of Congo and the island of Principe with representatives from national governments, organisations such as the Wildlife Conservation Society - Congo, Rénatura, and Principe Trust, as well as fishers and fish sellers.

Researchers working on both projects will come up with new ways of managing marine resources that alleviate poverty and promote gender equality.

The team of researchers, led by Dr Annette Broderick and Professor Brendan Godley of the Centre for Ecology and Conservation at the University of Exeter, have been awarded almost £600,000 by the Darwin Initiative, a UK government scheme that helps to protect biodiversity and the natural environment around the world.

The projects, which will last for two and a half years, will help local communities to improve marine biodiversity and livelihoods in Central Africa. Experts will carry out social and ecological assessments and help people to improve the governance and the way they plan how to use their marine environment.

This work will build upon existing research carried out in the Congo, which supported and informed the creation of a large network of marine parks in Gabon.

The work in Principe is a new project. Researchers from around the world hope that by working together they will find effective solutions to conservation and social issues in Central Africa. They will work with fishers and fish sellers on the island to find ways of encouraging them to work in a way which protects the environment and their way of life.

Other University of Exeter academics working on the project are Dr Ana Nuno, Dr Kristian Metcalfe, Dr Rachel Turner and Dr Matthew Witt, experts in social-ecological approaches for conservation and marine spatial planning.

Dr Annette Broderick said: “We are delighted to have been awarded these funds as both projects represent a fantastic opportunity to explore linkages between marine resource management and biodiversity conservation whilst promoting improved conditions for impoverished local communities.

“Members of the research team have expertise in a variety of areas and this will help to address issues that affect sustainability worldwide.”


Date: 12 April 2016

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