Beach seining in Sierra Leone

Photo credit: David Elliot (UK – MacAlister Elliott & Ptrs)

Review: Abdel Rahman El Gamal (Founder of the website)


Beach seining in Sierra Leone



The use of beach seine net –although highly destructive- is popular and widely used in many African countries whereas the practice takes place along the coast in lagoons, estuaries and rivers in areas which are classified as nursery grounds. Based on that, the beach net has been confirmed to catch a higher proportion of juvenile and immature fish than adult fish especially nets used to construct these seines are deliberately of small meshes. The beach seining is commonly known as haul fishing. A survey reportshowed that 85% of beach seine in the western area of Sierra Leone are illegal. The banning enforcement of beach seining in Sierra Leone has been emphasized as documented in The European Union’s 9th EDF programme for Sierra Leone (2009).


The seine is deployed off shore with a team of people on the beach who pull in the net by ropes tied to the sides. The net and warp are laid out from, and back to the shore and retrieved by hauling on to the shore.

According to FAO survey study that covered nine countries in Africa (not including Sierra Leone), Asia and Latin America, the beach seines have been banned in several countries due to its perceived negative impact on fishery resources and the coastal environment. However, it is obvious that in order to enforce the banning of beach seining, or at least to mitigate its negative impacts, some social issues have to be considered.

Beach seining is the backbone of employment for some of the poorest and the most vulnerable groups of people including older people and women, who depend on beach seine catches for their processing, nutrition and trade. To other groups of people, the beach seining while it can be a source of subsistence, it is not a sophisticated technology.

The threat to fishery resources caused by beach seining versus the social dimension of the practice to the poorest communities represent a real challenge facing policy makers anywhere who are often try to balance people’s needs with the need to ensure a healthy and functioning fisheries productivity for generations. Based on case studies, it has concluded the managing or banning the beach seining can be only accomplished if the livelihood challenges and opportunities faced by local fishing communities are taken into through participatory approach.




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