Unexpected findings in West Africa

Sarah Popov and Dyhia Belhabib. Photo by Valentina Ruiz Leotaud

As we mentioned in a previous blog post, Dyhia Belhabib, Program Manager-Fisheries for Ecotrust Canada and a West Africa advisor to the Sea Around Us, and Sarah Popov, a research assistant at the Sea Around Us, were invited to Senegal by the MAVA Foundation with the aim of meeting a range of fisheries stakeholders and addressing the main challenges the subregion’s fishing sector is facing.

The pair left Vancouver on February 19, 2017 with their hopes high and a scheduled packed with workshops and community engagement activities.

However, it took them almost twice the estimated time to arrive in Senegal for their week-long stay.


The first incident occurred during a flight that was supposed to go from Brussels to Dakar but was detoured to Lisbon after a passenger had a heart attack. Following a long wait, they finally flew out to Africa, but their destination was changed from Senegal to Guinea. Problems continued there, particularly after violent protests erupted due to a teachers’ strike and at least five people were killed.

Fortunately, the researchers were kept safe and, almost 24 hours later, were able to resume their journey.

After landing in Dakar, they drove south to the beach town of Saly. Surrounded by tropical birds and palm trees, they spent the next few days discussing culturally appropriate fishery management practices and the actual possibility of implementing them within the next three to five years.

Sarah and Dyhia explain more in the video below.