Document Type

Article Restricted

Publication Date


Journal Title

Environmental Development

First Page




African scientists were introduced to the ecosystem-based approach through professional interaction with scientists from NOAA's East Coast Fisheries Science Centers. In the mid-1990s, scientists from six African countries successfully implemented an ecosystem-based assessment and management project in the Gulf of Guinea that was expanded into a full scale 16 country ecosystem-based project encompassing the entire spatial domain of the Guinea Current Large Marine Ecosystem (GCLME) from Guinea-Bissau in the northwest to Angola in the southwest. Through the efforts of the project manager, the countries developed an excellent working relationship in operationalizing a five-module LME project for sustainably developing the goods and services of the Guinea Current LME. Over the five years of project implementation, a large cadre of African scientists was trained in ecosystem-based assessment and management methods based on the five-module LME approach. Both natural science and social science metrics were applied to assess changing conditions of GCLME: (i) productivity (gCm2yˉ1), (ii) fish and fisheries, (iii) pollution and ecosystem health, (iv) socioeconomics, and (v) governance in support of the sustainable development of GCLME goods and services. Through the association with senior ministerial representatives the scientists forged an interim Guinea Current Commission to oversee the sustainable development underway to mitigate effects of human and environmental stressors on the ecosystem.