Bee farming: A strategy to address overfishing
AMMCO empowers the Fishermen in Lake Ossa on Bee farming; a strategy to provide an alternative source of income and sustainable management of the Reserve's fishery resources.
The Lake Ossa Wildlife Reserve and the Douala-Edéa National Park not only represent important habitats for the African manatee and other threatened wildlife and plant species, but they also provide ecosystem services from which the local population can ensure their subsistence mostly through fishing. However, fishers who are active in those areas are unanimous with the fact that the quantity of fish that is fished every day keeps declining due to overfishing and the use of unsustainable fishing practices. As a result, the use of nets that are not compliant with regulation, leads to accidental catch and poaching of the manatee and other protected species as a source of proteins for the households or a source of income through their sale on local fish markets. To reduce human-wildlife conflicts, AMMCO has trained fishermen in bee farming as an alternative income generating activity, thanks to the support of our WCN donors, Save The Manatee Club and the GEF-SGP.
The main goal is to reduce the threats that we humans generate on the wildlife species in general and more specifically the manatee. The communities that are involved in this activity are the ones located near Lake Ossa since they have the most impact on the lake. Those are, among others, the communities of Beach, Pongo pitti, Mevia and Km3. Monitoring involves checking each beehive for colonies of bees and adding more bee wax, if needed. We also check the cleanliness of hives
Fishers are not very active, and few got involved in the bee farming activity due to non colonization of the beehives or bees deserting hives after colonization. But measures to remedy those problems were subsequently taken. AMMCO have been working with bee farming experts to troubleshoot the possible causes of the low colonization including changing the shape of the beehives, protecting them against the rain and frequently robbing bee wax over the internal wall of the beehive to attract bees.
As of today, AMMCO has trained 50 fishers in bee farming and it is expected that each fisherman would receive a beehive. Currently, among the 27 beehives that have been installed, 6 are at the community of Pongo Pitti, 15 at Beach, 5 at Mevia and one at Km3. Two have been colonized at Mevia and two at Pongo Pitti and it will take 6 months until we can start harvesting. Those results have shown that the type and shape of the beehives matter: All four hives in rectangular shape and made of wood planks and bamboo have been colonized compared to the cylindrical hives that showed issues with bee colonization. We will continue to monitor those models.