Picture of the month

In traditional communities, the dichotomy between modern and customary power reveals itself as being all but a myth. Boucar FALL is a traditional chief of the fishermen in Hann-Pêcheurs (the fishing village inside the town of Hann). According to Boucar Fall, in the past, governments have always relied on customary power to manage conflicts between citizens, whether in the field of conflict in general or that of the distribution and collective management of natural resources. The traditional leader illustrates this statement through a few examples, without trying to be comprehensive, of course. Read more

Awa SEYE, now in her 60s, is a woman from the traditional fishing village of Guet N'dar in northern Senegal. Like all women from traditional fishing families - especially in Guet N'dar with its surviving rich cultural heritage - she is responsible for the marketing of products landed by the boat owned by the family. She also has, with her two sisters, a small space on the fish processing site called "Sine". The three take turns to process fresh fish into "braised" or "dried-salted" fishery products. She may look like many other women fish processors, but there is more to her than running the family business. Having lost four of her children in child birth, she became a midwife saving countless lives in her village. Over the years, she has also become a highly respected community leader taking up local and national functions in the context of the National Collective of Fishermen in Senegal (CNPS) and lobbying successfully for the rights of fish processing women to scarce space for their work. The work of the Mare Nostrum project of Mundus maris continues in October 2011 to give voice to the men and women in the fisheries. Read more.

Know your marine environment and its ecosystems! This is the motto of a new collaboration between FAO's Nansen Project and Mundus maris. We interviewed school teachers and stakeholders from coastal areas in Senegal and The Gambia to find out more about the current teaching on marine ecosystems, what teaching methods are used - both 'traditional' and 'modern'. We also looked into what other communication means people of different age groups use to inform themselves and communicate. The purpose of this pilot study is to find out, what are the communication needs of children particularly in coastal areas of the two countries to learn more about the marine ecosystems at their doorsteps. The study should lead to developing activities in this direction. As usual, we'll build on what's there already and will seek cooperation. A good example of what's there is the booklet on coastal and marine environments in West Africa shown here. Read more about findings and plans.

Even artisanal fisheries in Senegal are part of a global trade system. Women, who were traditionally in charge of postharvest processing and marketing, are often loosing out in the modernisation process which introduces capital-intensive catching, quality control and processing methods outside their reach. Carla Zickfeld has spent the month of June 2011 researching their conditions and met some extraordinary women who are doing what they can to remain central to their family business and their communities. Read more

"Ten percent of the big fish still remain. There are still some blue whales. There are still some krill in Antarctica. There are a few oysters in Chesapeake Bay. Half the coral reefs are still in pretty good shape, a jeweled belt around the middle of the planet. There's still time, but not a lot, to turn things around."

Sylvia Earle, marine scientist and winner of the TED Prize 2009. Her wish was to join her in protecting the vital blue heart of the planet.

Citation selected by Daniele d'Antonio. Anna Balzarini interviews Daniele d'Antonio: Save the little fish today or you won't have big fish tomorrow! - Read more.

The Shanghai Ocean University hosted the 9th Asian Fisheries and Aquaculture Forum (9AFAF) and several associated symposia from 21 to 25 April 2011. Working with and mentoring young people has been a staple for Stella Williams of Mundus maris, who also spoke at the 3rd Gender in Fisheries and Aquaculture Symposium organised as well in Shanghai. Stella gave an invited talk in the event and also seized the opportunity to show three posters specifically focussing on people in aquaculture - mostly women. Stella says, meeting the young people from the university was among the best parts of a very interesting trip. Read more.

SeeArt - Sciences and Arts for Sustainability - is a youth exhibition in Hilden, Germany which brings together group and individual works from young people and schools from some 10 countries from around the world reflecting on what can be done to protect the seas and increase international cooperation and solidarity. It is organised by Ansgar Beer and his students at Helmholtz-Gymnasium Hilden and Mundus maris and will be opened by the mayor of Hilden. Between 26 June and 17 July 2011 works will be on display in the exhibition hall at the Business Park South. Funds raised through an auction will go towards the Oloibiri Resources Centre in the Niger Delta. Read more


Echezonna Eke Ogudu (16 years) of the Infant Jesus Model Secondary School, Oron, Akwa Ibom State won the second prize at the painting competition in Port Harcourt, which Adaba T Ibim, Stella Williams and the team working with Mundus maris in the Niger Delta organised on 30 October 2010. The title of his oil painting on canvas was  "Niger Delta - hear the children".

For weeks the team had engaged with schools and students from two states in the Niger Delta to propose cooperation, art work and learning new skills as an alternative to the violence and environmental damage. This specific activity took place at the Stella Maris Secondary School and featured participants from two universities and 7 schools. The best works will be sent to the See(a)Art youth exhibition, scheduled for opening on 26 June 2011 in Hilden Germany. Read more.

Echezonna Eke Ogudu went on to win the first prize of the jury and the public at the SeeArt youth exhibition in Hilden, Germany. Read more.