1. Marine and coastal protected areas
In 2014, Gabon announced its decision to create a network of marine parks covering about 23% of its territorial waters and exclusive economic zone (EEZ), within which no commercial fishing will be allowed.
WWF will work together with the government to support:
- Collection of baseline data on marine and coastal biodiversity “hotspots” as well as potential threats;
- Design of marine protected areas MPAs;
- Creation of effective ecosystem-based management plans, drawing on WWF’s recent experience with participative protected area management for terrestrial parks in Gabon;
- Implementation of MPA management, including monitoring and surveillance in collaboration with government and the private sector;
- Redefinition and development of management plans for coastal protected areas, currently defined as Ramsar sites, focussing on the Lower Ogooué and the Ndougou watersheds.
WWF will support Gabon’s initiative to move toward more sustainable fisheries policy and practice through field-based monitoring and research. We are also promoting satellite tracking of vessels in Gabon’s waters. Field-based monitoring has already begun following a collaboration agreement with the Department of Fisheries. The work will initially focus on the Gamba region, with:
- Monthly beach surveys to detect and record indicators of biodiversity as well as threats such as illegal nearshore fishing, oil pollution or poaching of turtle nests;
- Lagoon and river surveys with the fisheries department to monitor fishing effort as well as biodiversity hotspots;
- Marine surveys to monitor marine mammal distribution and human activity in the nearshore areas of the Gamba Complex.
- Additional hardware and equipment;
- In-country training and support for key staff;
- Off-site expert processing and analysis of remotely collected AIS data.
3. Monitoring offshore extractive industries
WWF Gabon has coordinated the drafting of environmental best practice guidelines for offshore oil exploration and production. We are now working with our Gabon Bleu partners and the Department of the Environment to make sure these guidelines are adopted by the government and disseminated to stakeholders. Subsequently, we plan to work with the relevant government authorities to monitor the implementation of the recommended good practice. This includes the adoption of environmental impact assessment (EIA) guidelines for offshore oil exploration and production by all stakeholders (oil companies, government, private sector).