WDC's work to protect significant numbers of whales and dolphins dying in fishing nets and gear in Senegal, as well as other threats they face, has received a substantial Partnership Project funding boost from the Darwin Initiative.
The Darwin Initiative is a UK government grants scheme that funds projects to protect biodiversity and the natural environment in developing countries worldwide.
These vital funds will enable WDC's team to work more closely with our partner in Senegal, the African Aquatic Conservation Fund (AACF), to reduce pressures on whales, dolphins and other marine species there. Whales, dolphins, sea turtles and manatees each face similar threats in Senegal, including death in nets (known as bycatch), pollution, lack of prey and human consumption.
The African Aquatic Conservation Fund is a Senegalese conservation NGO dedicated to the preservation of African manatees, turtles, whales, dolphins and their habitats throughout Africa. AACF’s research has shown that minke whale, harbour porpoise, short beaked common dolphin, Atlantic humpback dolphin, spinner and Risso’s dolphin are all species that have been affected in recent years.
WDC’s project leader, Nicola Hodgins, said, ‘We are absolutely delighted to have received this important funding from the Darwin Initiative for our work in Senegal. Working with our partner AACF, we hope to help reduce the threats facing whales and dolphins as well as other marine species like turtles and manatees by working with fishers, government and local communities to reduce bycatch and demand for dolphin meat.’
The Partnership Project is expected to start in early 2021. It will be an important step towards the greater involvement of local communities, artisanal fishers, the fishing industry and other stakeholders in the protection of whales, dolphins, manatees and marine turtles in Senegal.