Socioeconomic and ecological considerations in the management of Lower Guinea rainforest rivers
- Low order rainforest streams in Central Africa represent the largest single riverine ecosystem on the continent. Of the 8 million people who live in the Lower Guinea Rainforest, nearly 20% are more or less fulltime fishers and 90% fish at least seasonally. Estimates from Cameroon put the productivity of capture fisheries in forest rivers basins at 0.5 tons/km2/yr or 260 000 tons with a cash value of over $500 million per year. The peculiar ecology of rainforest rivers generates and protects high levels of fish and other biodiversity, only a small percentage of which can be exploited directly for food. However, the retail value of many African rainforest fishes in the international ornamental fish trade is high, wholesaling for an average of $2.43 per fish. Despite these high values and reported high demand in Europe, the US and Asia, African fishes are in short supply due to the difficulty involved in their capture, holding and transport and the difficulty that overseas commercial breeders have had with their reproduction in captivity. To compete with established fish exporters and ensure that the resource is optimally exploited WorldFish is currently working with fishing communities in SW Cameroon rivers in Cameroon to organize villages, develop a business plan, establish protocols for culture of rare fishes and put in place an environmental monitoring plan to ensure sustainability.
- Sustainable aquaculture