Strengthening Cabo Verde’s marine protection for biodiversity and community resilience


Key Facts

Cape Verde


The proposed Main Darwin Initiative Project will take place in Boavista, Cabo Verde (an LMIC). The primary objective is to address overexploitation of IUCN listed species and marine biodiversity while developing mechanisms to promote biodiversity stewardship and stabilize food security in an ever changing climate all through the lens of marine protected areas (MPAs). Boavista's five MPAs are poorly known and remain unenforced while fisheries resources are declining. The benefits of MPAs and their role in enhancing food securing amidst a changing climate are unclear to local communities as is the lack of adherence to fisheries and MPA regulations, which has led to declines in fish and turtle populations. Food security is of increasing concern to coastal communities in light of climate change impacts on historical species and fisheries seasonality. The Partnership Project travelers and partners will be key to the implementation of the proposed pilot MPA site, the Bay/Baia de Sal Rei. This bay MPA will be used to increase community understanding for and engagement with Boavista’s broader network of protected areas, ultimately replicating the strategies to Cabo Verde’s remaining islands and Western Africa. The bay hosts internationally important and yet highly threatened populations of endangered marine species and their key nursery habitat. Threats to fish are primarily from overexploitation. Growing tourist development on the island is further infringing on critical nursery habitats. Interviewed fishers have a noted a significant decline in the number of fish and hammerheads encountered in the bay over the last 15 years. The larger project will help Cabo Verde to meet marine commitments to the CBD, CITES (e.g., national plan of action for sharks) and the convention on migratory species (CMS) as well as the SDGs e.g., 5 (gender equality through our education and training) 10 (reducing inequalities in marginalized communities through fisher involvement and training), 13 (engaging, educating and creating resilience to climate change) and 14 (preserving marine diversity and sustaining small scale fisheries/food security). Primary expected outputs of the project include: 1). Locally-led and consultation-driven creation of a marine protected area in Baia de Sal Rei, with legislation for the protection of highlighted threatened species. 2). Creation of effective and locally-led structures to manage the protected area and species through collaboration with fishers, capacity building and partner institutional strengthening. 3). Communication and evaluation strategies developed and implemented to engage a range of audiences to highlight MPA importance, benefits and value, and assess impact of MPA creation on target species and local fisheries productivity. 4). Identification and implementation of projects to improve local livelihoods and increase food security and climate change resilience of coastal communities that further reduces threats to endangered species. 5). Scientific monitoring of the protected area encompassing coastal nurseries and fisheries established for the long-term and conducted by a network of trained local fishers and students. 6). Sal Rei becomes an MPA that demonstrates management and stewardship structures that can be adopted by or replicated to the remaining MPAs in Boavista and in other islands in Cabo Verde.
Status Completed
Reference DARPP209
Round 26
Start 01/04/2020
End 17/07/2020

Project Leader

Lead Organisation

Project Partners
Associação dos Pescadores e das Peixeiras da Boavista (APPBV), Ministerio da Agricultura e Ambiente (MAA)

Sub-Saharan Africa

Cape Verde

Download: Application Form - DARPP209 App - 03/02/2021