The Aquaculture Systems Group: Addresses the key areas of long term Resilience and Sustainability of the Sector resulting in improved Aquatic Food Security. Our approach is multidisciplinary and strongly integrated both within the Aquaculture Systems Theme and across other thematic groups within the Institute of Aquaculture. Activities encompass environmental modelling, all forms of carrying capacity, spatial analysis, biodiversity and new species, international development, securing and improving fishers' livelihoods, value chains and life cycle assessment. Much of this operates under the guidelines of the Ecosystem Approach to Aquaculture. We are organised through two teams: "Environmental Management" and "Society & Technology Interface".
The Institute of Aquaculture has lead responsibility for financial administration, project oversight, reporting and dissemination (WP1).
The Institute of Aquaculture will provide technical advice on alternative methods of culturing oysters; identify a range of sites with different hydrographic characteristics, (tidal range, influence of freshwater, turbidity etc.) and propose the most appropriate systems (rafts, long lines, trays) using materials locally available in Sierra Leone.
The Institute of Aquaculture will conduct of livelihoods analyses and research sample-design, capacity building for collective management of multiple-use aquatic resources (WP2) and provide marketing support (WP3).
As part of the University of Sierra Leone, IMBO is a research and teaching institute specialising in marine oceanographic and freshwater biological research including fisheries exploitation relevant to the needs of West African Maritime Nations. Dr Sankoh's recent project coordination activities include DelPhe and Edulink (CODWAP) capacity building projects. He is also highly familiar with Sherbro MBA and its statutes. Dr Sankoh is a graduate of the Institute of Aquaculture University of Stirling.
IMBO will lead local coordination and implementation of field-work in the Sherbro MPA. Through its established networks it will also be the project liaison with the following project affiliates: the West African Regional Fisheries Project, the Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources (MFMR) and with the MPA management and devolved Local Management Committees (LMCs). Based on previous reconnaissance work in the MPA (in collaboration with Njala University) Dr Sankoh will also liaise with oyster fisherwomen groups as the principle intended beneficiaries of the project.
IMBO will conduct baseline studies on biodiversity and levels of community dependence on the ecosystems goods and services in target areas. It will also conduct project impact assessment surveys in collaboration with Njala University and lead the supply-chain development activity (WP3).
NJU will contribute to the development of the research design and impact assessment through GIS mangrove mapping, integration and interrogation of geographic data from the MPA. It will also be responsible for statistical analysis and verification of project outcomes based on environmental, social and economic sustainability indicators (WP2).
NJU will also lead on market promotion (WP4) though the staging of regional followed by a national competition for local oyster recipes, through its Home Economics Department. Dr Wadsworth has conducted reconnaissance survey work in the Sherbro MPA as a component of a previous Darwin Project.
The Whitstable Oyster Fishery Company, (WOFC) has collaborated with the project since its inception in 2014. Mr James Green (CEO) has made regular annual visits to the research areas to conduct oyster culture trials attuned to local socio-economic and resource conditions and to support implementation of an annual ‘Bonthe Oyster Festival’ in 2016 and 2017. WOFC have committed to financing implementation of the festival for an additional 5 years post project. By which time we envisage a sustainable women’s marketing cooperative will assume sole responsibility for the event as part of value-added marketing and branding activity.