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Envisioning 2050: Climate Change, Aquaculture and Fisheries in West Africa

Dakar, Senegal 14-16th April 2010

This report presents the activities and results of the workshop "Envisioning 2050: Climate Change, Aquaculture and Fisheries in West Africa". The objectives of the workshop were to discuss critical issues and uncertainties faced by the fisheries and aquaculture sector in Ghana, Senegal and Mauritania, build sectoral scenarios for 2050 and discuss the implication of these scenarios in the context of climate change for the countries and the region. During the workshop participants were introduced to scenariobuilding methodologies, identified drivers of change and ranked them according to their importance and levels of uncertainty. Participants then constructed four consistent scenarios for 2050 for each country.

The scenarios raised several questions including: Can aquaculture address both national food security and macroeconomic growth? Should regional trade be promoted or access to global markets prioritised? How will climate change affect fishery resources, especially small pelagic fish like sardines, which are an important export commodity for Senegal and Mauritania?

Participants also assessed the implications of the different scenarios in terms of climate change and research and development in the fisheries and aquaculture sector. It was agreed that a regional or sub-regional effort is needed to better integrate scientific knowledge and to put into place coherent fisheries policies. Additionally, a better understanding of the impacts of climate change on the sector is needed, with for instance, the development of coupled climate-fisheries models for major commercial fisheries in the region. Participants unanimously agreed that strategic planning and foresight studies methodologies should be widely disseminated. Indeed the opportunity for reflective and creative thinking was recognised as an important part of planning - especially adaptation planning - to climate change.

Finally, the workshop provided a rare opportunity to include in a foresight study, art projects by youth on the future of the fisheries sector and the coasts as an exhibition and discussion theme (“Visions of the Future: What is African Youth telling us about our Ocean?”). Empowering youth on climate change issues and integrating their needs into adaptation planning is essential as they will be the ones most affected by future developments.

The workshop report can be downloaded here.