Sustainable Management of Water and Fish Resources in Burkina Faso | SUSFISH

Project Coordinator: DI Dr. Andreas Helmut MELCHER

Coordinating Institution: University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences (BOKU), Vienna

Partner Institutions: International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis Laxenburg (Dr. Jan SENDZIMIR); University of Vienna, Department of African Studies (Dr. Gabriele SLEZAK); Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development, Burkina Faso (Dr. Raymond OUEDRAOGO); University of Ouagadougou (Prof. B. Gustave KABRE); Polytechnic University of Bobo-Dioulasso, Department of Rural Sociology and Economy - IDR (Prof. Patrice TOE); International Union for Conservation of Nature - IUCN, West and Central Africa, Burkina Faso (Dr. Moumini SAVADOGO); Polytechnic University of Bobo-Dioulasso, Institute for Health Sciences (Leon G. Blaise SAVADOGO)

Partner Country: Burkina Faso

Project Duration: 15 November 2011 - 14 November 2014


In response to threats of chronic water scarcity and episodes of severe drought, since 1950 hundreds of reservoirs were created to provide a dispersed network of water storage facilities throughout Burkina Faso. As fisheries, these reservoirs also became important new sources of food. However, pressures of overfishing, intensive agriculture and sedimentation threaten the services (fish, water quality) these reservoirs provide. To establish sustainable management of natural and man-made aquatic systems, Burkina Faso requires methods and tools for the standardised assessment of the water quality and ecological status of rivers. The purpose of this project is to strengthen in-country capacities for science, policy and practice to establish the basis for sustainable fisheries in Burkina Faso. This means building scientific capacity to monitor and assess the dynamics of reservoir services (fish, water), the educational capacity to train scientists and technicians in these concepts and methods, and institutional capacities in management and policy formulation, that are linked with research and education in the sphere of water and fisheries in Burkina Faso. The innovations this project will introduce are: most current methods and technology of monitoring fish populations and water quality, the current methodological standard for Europe in statistical modelling that rigorously establishes bio-indicators by linking sets of species (fish and benthic invertebrates) with water quality parameters, the frontier of social science research into the effectiveness of republican and traditional forms of governance and how to harmonize them, current experiments with scenario development to allow managers and planners to explore policy development far into the future, systems analysis of the ecological, economic and social factors that can individually or by interaction create opportunities or barriers to sustainable fisheries management, the latest in educational (lectures, training manual) techniques to sustain the use of the projects innovations in future generations of scientists, policy makers, managers and local practitioners. The results will be used to formulate and implement fish and waters policies, in education (universities and governmental agricultural professional schools) and will have practical relevance for food security and health care.


  • Melcher, Andreas H.; Ouedraogo, Raymond; Schmutz, Stefan. 2012. "Spatial and seasonal fish community patterns in impacted and protected semi-arid rivers of Burkina Faso". In Ecological Engineering: Ecohydraulic Approaches for Restoring Habitat Connectivity and Suitability. Volume 48, November 2012, Pages 117–129.
  • Meulenbroek, Paul. 2013. "Fish Assemblages and Habitat Use in the Upper Nakambe Catchment, Burkina Faso". A thesis submitted to the University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Vienna, Austria for the award of „Master of Science“(„MSc").