Tuesday, 28 January 2020 21:08

Senegal: Produced pots provide protection

EM1 20 News Int PotsOctopus is an important source of income for Senegalese fishermen and women due to its high value on international markets like Europe and Japan. Last year 15,000 clay pots were submerged in Senegalese local waters to form artificial reefs protecting and sheltering octopuses. The artificial breeding beds provided by the clay pots have increased the production of octopus considerably. This generates significant revenues at community level which benefit the local woman making the clay pots, the artisanal fishermen and fisherwomen who have an abundant and high value octopus stock to fish from, and the local fish merchants selling the octopus. The octopus pots not only preserve and restore the ecosystem and increase the octopus biomass but they also support the local artisanal fisheries by maintaining an economically viable activity.

The idea of octopus pots originates from Japan and the experience was passed on to the Senegalese. However, the idea of using clay instead of plastic pots is a Senegalese modification and allows for a non-polluting way of promoting an increase in octopus biomass and of managing the resource. Over time the clay pots naturally dissolve and they have to be replaced annually. With the creation of a suitable habitat for octopus, other species such as squid, cuttlefish and their symbionts will also increase, which will have a positive effect on the entire ecosystem. The clay pots are produced by local women based on traditional knowledge passed on through generations. The work provides the women with a mean to support their families, while playing a central part in revitalizing the beneficial octopus fisheries and is funded by EU’s Sustainable Fisheries Partnership Agreement (SFPA) in partnership with the Republic of Senegal.