Community Sciences Program
The Community Sciences program is designed to build capacity of West African artisanal fisher communities to monitor and better manage their local coastal and inshore marine resources. As both a resources management and an environment conservation tool, Community Sciences directly supports an ongoing policy shift in fisheries management in West Africa to a "rights based" approach. This policy shift assigns rights over exploitation of inshore marine resources to fisher communities, and gives some responsibility for the health and sustainability of those resources to those communities.
The program aims to build strong and knowledgeable community groups with improved capacity to manage local coastal and fisheries resources effectively and to advocate for both locally and internationally. The program trains volunteer groups in fisher communities to use a set of basic science procedures to systematically gather and interpret data and information on the status and health of local resources. The underlying idea is that if communities themselves generate and analyze a data and information base which is locally relevant and easily understandable they will be empowered to identify and institute more sustainable fisheries management practices.
The data and information gathered also helps position communities to engage more effectively with the Bureau of National Fisheries on policies relating to these resources. The BNF can then use the community-collected data as input to national monitoring systems. Sustainability of the Community Sciences program is possible because it is rooted in community volunteerism and ownership. For more information contact us at
The Program collaborates with the following local and international agencies:
The Bureau of National Fisheries, Ministry of Agriculture
Social Development Unit (AFTCS), Africa Region, World Bank
Magothy River Divers, Maryland, USA
More information on the Community Sciences program, including the Community Sciences Toolkit can be found here