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The Ecosystem Approach to Fisheries in the region of Saint Louis, Senegal

Primary School Hydrobase is committed to the popularisation of the teaching kit

In August 2016, we were contacted by Mr. Assane Gueye, fisherman and notable in the area called "Hydrobase". The fisherman who is also president of the parents' association of the primary school bearing the name of this district, has repeatedly expressed his interest in the advocacy work that Mundus maris realised in recent years towards fishing communities, and school children in particular. During one of our meetings in St. Louis in the community of Guet Ndar, he said, we quote:

"We want our children to go to school and do not stop in the middle of primary or secondary education. All children can not become fishermen, because the fishing capacity has reached a point where this activity gives little opportunities for very young people. Fishing is our tradition, but a part of our children needs to go to school and try to excel in areas, including the sciences. In the Guet Ndar neighbourhood from which we all come, it is unfortunate that the majority of young children who have a lot of potential to succeed in the most advanced sectors are forced out of school to be drafted too young into fishing. We have a challenge to Hydrobase: it is to preserve our tradition as fishermen, but also to offer the opportunity to those of our children who have the capabilities to do something else in life."

Some readers might remember that it is this same fisherman, who has facilitated various meetings with fishermen and f ish traders when it came to popularising the teaching kit prepared by Mundus maris with and for FAO and its Nansen Project with these professional categories.

On Tuesday, October 25, the working session was finally convened in the presence of the president of the parents' association, Mr. Gueye, who had so insistently requested it to happen. In addition to the coordinator of the Mundus maris Club - Senegal participated the director of the school, Mr. Lamine Niasse, and some parents and teachers.

By way of background: The primary school Hydrobase was constructed in 1991 and inaugurated in 1992. It has currently 513 pupils, of whom 241 are girls, divided into 8 classes and 10 teaching groups. Explanation: in the entry level (CI) there are 131 pupils divided into two cohorts. As a result of room shortages there are two teaching shifts at that level: 8h – 13h and 15h – 18h. The school is supervised by the “Inspection d'Académie” of St Louis and the Education and Training Inspectorate of St Louis – Municipality.

On this occasion, the vision, mission and accomplishments of Mundus maris were shared with those in attendance. They were particularly interested in the collaboration between FAO-Nansen Project with Mundus maris. The product of this cooperation, the teaching kit, was distributed to the teachers in a few copies. In addition, all were updated about an event that has an important place in our agenda: World Oceans Day (June 8). WOD is celebrated since 2009 following the decision of the UN General Assembly in 2008. Each year, we organise specific actions in Senegal.

On behalf of the other participants, the Director congratulated Mundus maris for these activities particularly in favour of children and their future. The president of the parents' association followed suit by encouraging us to persist, because he knows that this is voluntary work.

The Director proposed that the Hydrobase school develops a direct partnership with Mundus maris for the extension and use of the teaching materials, especially on the Barbary Peninsula occupied exclusively by fishermen and their families. As the school has an internet connection, it can access even the electronic version of the educational package and thus help spread the ecosystem approach to fisheries in the environment having a direct interest. He hopes too to receive support in their research for additional means enabling the school to settle some logistic problems. From now, the school is committed to actively participate in the celebration of World Oceans Day and will do its best to interest the many schools, including in particular those on the Barbary Peninsula.

The Director, Mr Lamine Niasse, can be contacted by e-mail at ecolehydrobase[at] or lamineniasse[at] or phone (+221) 77 161 35 07.

As a last remark, some may remember that the development work of the teaching kit about the ecosystem approach to fisheries for schools in West Africa has also led to early extension work by Mundus maris towards fish mongers and other fisheries professionals. Eventually, that triggered our field research as of end 2014.