The Cayal and Ufoyaal Kassa-Bandial marine protected areas (MPAs) were created in 2004 in the north and 2020 in the south of Senegal respectively to foster healthy ecosystems by preserving species diversity and habitat integrity. These areas feature a wide array of habitats, including mangroves, canyons, and seamounts, as well as a number of culturally and economically valuable marine species. However, climate change threatens the gains in protection and sustainability made by the MPAs. In fact, projects suggest Senegal’s marine waters will be among the most vulnerable to climate impacts by 2050.
In this project, researchers will work to understand the risks to these MPAs across multiple physical and ecological parameters, including:
- How past and future changes in ocean conditions (e.g., temperature, oxygen, salinity etc.) impacts species and habitats;
- Whether current monitoring is relevant to current trends in the ocean environment and thus effective management; and
- Where scientific information can advance meaningful action and strengthen a shared sense of stewardship of the MPAs among local communities.
The Cayar and Ufoyaal Kassa-Bandial MPAs managed by the Department of Community Marine Protected Areas (DAMCP). To ensure management is effective and involves the input of stakeholders, Senegal has also set up a series of MPA governance bodies, including a Steering Committee, Management Committee, and Scientific Committee. These bodies involve local and regional authorities, stakeholders, and scientists. The researchers have already engaged with members of these Committees and other stakeholders to both co-design the project and set up its outcomes to be used in the decision-making process.
- Richard Dacosta, GRID-Arendal
- Taibou Ba, CSE Senegal
- Mamadou SIDIBE, DAMCP
- Alassane SARR, IUPA
- Amadou GAYE, LPAO/SF