Conservation

The African Waters team is deeply committed to conservation and community. Our primary objective is to use sustainable sport fishing to create long-term meaningful and positive changes to the people, fauna and flora in the areas we operate in.

Combining best practice fishing methods, strict fishery management practices, cutting edge community upliftment programs, aquatic and terrestrial anti-poaching efforts and long term partnerships with local and international conservation organisations, we ensure all guests visiting our camps are making a significant contribution to the long-term protection of these remote tracts of wilderness and the fisheries they support.

Conservation Success Stories and Threats:

Tanzania Trophy Tigerfish – Fly fishing is assisting us and our partners to protect a 700 000 square kilometre wilderness area – home not only to amazing tigerfish, but a safe haven for an incredible selection of fauna and flora, including iconic African mammals such as elephant, buffalo, lion, and leopard.

Threats to the area: Deforestation in the headwaters. Poaching (mammals and fish). Climate change.

Makhangoa Community Camp – The camp employs over 50 individuals from the local community. All staff training and skills development occurs in-house. The camp supports a River Ranger program whereby the local community provides protection to the natural resources by ensuring best practices and local legislation are adhered to. Sustainable cooking projects, water delivery programs, school stationery drives and logistical upgrades (foot bridges and road building) are a few of the many projects the camp sponsors.

Threats to the area: Climate change. Illegal fish poaching and associated damage to spawning beds during critical spawning periods for both the yellowfish and trout.

Cameroon Nile Perch – The fly fishing project in the area contributes significant funds to year round, aquatic and terrestrial anti-poaching activities. At the same time we are using our work in the region to canvass for and create international awareness for this extremely important ecological area; an area representing one of the last intact, Sahelo-Sudanian ecosystems/ West African savannah habitats in an Africa-wide region that is under enormous human pressure. Work currently on-the-go includes the establishment and implementation of a Faro Conservation Association to oversee and undertake conservation strategies across a broader section of the Faro River Basin, and obtaining buy-in to the catch and release fly fishing model from neighbouring concession holders. Time is of the essence!

Threats to the area: Illegal gold mining on the Faro River and its tributaries. Meat and fish poaching. Poor government policy dealing with stimulation and facilitation of tourism to the area.

Gabon – Tourism is not easy in Gabon, but it is vital for the successful protection of the Central African country’s wilderness areas. Over the last 10 years, and through a baptism of fire, African Waters have developed a logistically smooth tourism product of a very high standard. This product at Sette Cama has secured numerous direct jobs, and is a sole source of income that supports 15 local households.

When African Waters first started operating in Gabon, although the fishing was exceptionally good, there was widespread abuse of the resource by irresponsible sport fishermen taking too many fish and causing a high mortality of fish through poor handling, as well as widespread illegal commercial fishing. Through implementing our own Code of Best Practice, which imparts strict protocols on handling fish, fishing techniques, tackle requirements, as well as severely limiting the killing of fish for consumption, we believe we have had a direct positive impact on the fish populations around Sette Cama.

We have also been actively involved with the custodians of the wilderness areas of Gabon – Gabon’s National Parks Agency (ANPN). This has been through open channels of communication from the ground up to the highest levels of the organisation, collaboration in the protected areas, network development, a fisheries legislation process and direct funding through significant contributions in park and fishing licence fees. This symbiosis, which continues to grow and solidify, has helped significantly reduce illegal fishing in the area.

Facilitated by the extremely forward-thinking leadership in Gabon, a positive climate for conservation strategies and their implementation and a combination of all the above has led to a fishery that has produced consistently better catches, year on year, over the last decade – something to be extremely positive and proud about. There are not many fisheries on the planet where the fishing is getting better.

Costa Rica – Developing a family tourism business. From our first visits to Costa Rica and meeting with Loraina and her family in 2013, the Costa Rica Tarpon product has developed into a bespoke sport fishing product. Through dedicated support, business planning, product coaching, capital input and of course support in bookings and guiding, we are thrilled to have been the catalyst that allowed a small family guest house to develop into one of the region’s top sport fishing operations.  Loraina’s eldest son, Bryan, is close to graduating university, a direct result of the positive outcomes that fly fishing has had at a grass roots level for this family.

Nubian Flats – Introducing international anglers to the untouched flats and reefs of the Red Sea. A region full of potential, but with zero traveller confidence. Since our first exploration of the area in 2013, we have backed the product, the friendly people and the amazing fishery.  We now offer two different liveaboard programs on the Nubian Flats, that employ a range of staff from skippers, boat drivers, housekeeping, cooks, transfer drivers and local fixers.