Aquatic and avian biodiversity at the level of the marine protected area of Saint Louis du Senegal: inventory, threats and indicators of governance and steady, International Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Studies, February 2020

Authors : Ousseynou Niang and Massal Fall

Affiliated organization : International Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Studies

Type of publication : Article

Date of publication : February 2020

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Natural threats

The Marine protected area (MPA) of Saint-Louis, as a natural receptacle of the waters of the Senegal river, is undergoing strong and progressive erosion on both shores of the Langue de Barbarie from where, ruptures of the strip, the creation of a new mouth constantly in movement with visible damage on the flora and fauna and the total upheaval and not yet mastered of the hydrodynamic conditions. The latter, due to the alternation of salt water from the tide (7 to 8 months) and fresh water from the flood of the river, reaches its peak in October – November. The evolution of the physico-chemical parameters of the waters in the MPA mimics, synchronously, that of the fluvial dynamics at the level of the estuary : turbid fluvial waters and salinity decreasing during floods, reduced turbidity and estuarine salinity close to that sea water during periods of rising tides and closed gates of the dam from Diama.

Communication threats

They are linked to the negative perception of MPA by local actors. For example, the interviews conducted at the level of the 3 sub-districts of Guet-Ndar (Lodo, Dack and Pondokholé) show that the MPA, known certainly by more than 90% of the respondents, is also rejected in a certain way. It is accused, in particular, of the disruption of fishing habits and the loss of income due to various restrictions. In this regard, Diallo reports that for 54% of respondents, an MPA is simply a park, a place where all exploitation is prohibited. In Lodo, where the discharge is more nuanced, the populations no longer attach importance to the MPA area, which is severely degraded and no longer serves as a fishing area according to them. On the balance sheet, we note that even if the gap is reduced between fishermen and managers grouped in the management committee (CG), as for their perceptions on the MPA, the latter constitute, therefore, a constraint for better management of AMP.

Political and institutional threats

This type of threat refers above all to the nagging question of supervision between the ministries in charge of fisheries on the one hand, and of the environment and nature protection on the other, MPAs having a double grip (marine and terrestrial) and giving rise to conflicts of interest (conservation and / or exploitation?). The vagueness persists, to this day, despite the creation of a Technical Committee supposed to resolve the problems but, never met until now.

The MPA of Saint-Louis, as a natural receptacle of the waters of the Senegal river, is undergoing strong and progressive erosion on both shores of the Langue de Barbarie

Then, even if the annual operating budget of 9,900,000 FCFA allocated by the State (Anonymous, 2020) gives a ratio of 160 FCFA / ha / year in 2020, which certainly exceeds the national average in this area which is of 33 FCFA / ha / year (Ndiaye and Diop, 2001), the fact remains that this ration of MPA (i) is below international standards ( 10 000 $ US / ha / year) (ii) only finances the operating costs of the State agents assigned on the spot. It therefore does not concern the activities specific to the development and ecological monitoring of the site. The consequences of such a state of affairs are numerous: MPA management process highly dependent on the support of external partners, lack of MPA monitoring, lack of an adequate ecological monitoring system, absence of internal initiative for the execution of development works, timid functioning of the management bodies of the MPA.

On another level, the AMP co-management bodies have so far been largely ineffective, like the General Assembly (GA) faced with a glaring lack of dynamism from its stakeholders. In addition, the Management Committee, the main decision making body of the MPA, is criticized for its inertia.