24 May 2021, Kabo, Republic of Congo - Wilfred Oniangue has been a fisherman for 26 years and says he has placed his children at university through fishing. He is working with a SWM researcher at the moment in order to plan for a sustainable fishing future. Fishing is one of the leading alternative protein to bushmeat in many rural parts of Africa. It comes without the legal complications in many instances and is often possible year-round. That said, there is a focus on making fishing a sustainable activity through management. Saving Wildlife Management (S.W.M) is working on compiling the necessary data with researchers in the field living with fishing communities and documenting their needs and issues. The main focus is on using nets and traps that do not capture small fish before they mature and also avoiding breeding areas during that time.
The SWM Programme activities in Congo focus on the forest concessions that constitute the wild meat (game and fish) supply basin of the town of Ouesso. Hunting and fishing are important sources of food and income. To secure the sustainable use of wild protein by the local populations of traditional villages (indigenous and Bantu) located in these forest concessions, the project operates at three scales. The aim is to balance the supply and demand for wild meat products in 1) traditional villages, 2) secondary towns and forest camps and 3) cities. Community hunting areas overlap with logging concessions. Some of the concession are FSC certified and are working with the SWM Programme to achieve sustainable levels of hunting and prohibit the sale of wild meat.