The Pilot Site: Bijol Islands
Several explorations in Gambia have been led by the National Implementation Team (NIT), as part of the ResilienSEA project. Thanks to local knowledge, seagrass meadows of Halodule Wrightii and Cymodocea nodosa were successfully identified along the shores of the Bijol Islands.
The Bijol Islands lie at the junction between the South of the Gambia River and the Atlantic Ocean, within the Tanij and Bijol Islands bird reserve. The environment is characterised by an incredible biodiversity. Important ecosystems of mangrove, estuaries, sand banks and dunes, coastal scrubs as well as seagrass meadows constitute the habitats of a rich biodiversity. The islands are an important egg laying site for marine turtles. It is used by a multitude of sea birds for breeding, and the abundant fish resource is consumed by many marine mammals (humpback dolphins, otters etc.).
The identified seagrass meadow was in relatively good health. Further exploration is needed to map its full extent, as well as improved communication towards stakeholders and local communities. One of the activities within the ResilienSEA project will be to work with local stakeholders to adopt integrated management tools to ensure the reduction of future pressures on seagrasses, and to achieve a more sustainable use of marine resources.