The SusFish project is developing a diverse set of methodological and technical resources to assess the integrity and long-term sustainability of water quality and fisheries in the African country of Burkina Faso.
In response to episodes of severe drought throughout the first half of the last century, hundreds of reservoirs were created in Burkina Faso and over time became important fisheries and water storage facilities. Pressures from overfishing, intensive agriculture, and sedimentation now threaten both the fish populations and the water quality.
The purpose of SusFish is to strengthen in-country capacities for science, policy, and management practices to establish sustainable fisheries. Project researchers will work to build the scientific ability in Burkina Faso to monitor and assess the condition of the fish and the water through the training of scientists and technicians in the methods of sustainable fisheries.
Researchers from IIASA’s Risk, Policy and Vulnerability (RPV) program will use group decision processes (adaptive management) backed by analysis of policy and social factors, e.g. networks, to ensure that policy planning and management for individual reservoirs will involve not just scientific experts and government officials, but will incorporate the perspectives of people acting in different sectors and at different levels of society, from local to regional to national. The people who live near each reservoir will be recruited as experts to help develop the best way to create a sustainable fishery that takes into account local practices and conditions.