In North Cameroon, artificial fishing canals were dewatering the land, damaging the natural landscape and causing conflict among the local population. IUCN NL partner ACEEN brought the various local communities together and helped them organize smart fishing initiatives aimed at restoring Cameroon’s valuable wetland.

Header photo: (c) Jan Joseph Stok


The Waza Logone region in North Cameroon is a so-called floodplain. The area is regularly inundated by overbank flow from the Logone River, creating seasonal lakes and ponds filled with fish swept along by the water. The local people rely on the fish they catch for their basic income. The ponds are also a place where nomadic tribes let their cattle drink. In order to profit from the fish the whole year round, the Cameroonian people constructed canals. However, this led to all kinds of problems. The canals drained the land and caused the ponds to dry up, resulting in a decline in fish yields. In search of alternative places for cattle to drink, the nomads entered into protected natural reserves, causing conflict with lions. And more and more waterfowl, for which the Waza Logone region provides an essential habitat, moved to other areas.


IUCN NL’s partner organisation ACEEN supported the local people in adopting more sustainable methods for handling their natural resources. Meetings were held with the nomadic tribes and local fishermen to make clear arrangements and agreements about how the floodplain and ponds are to be managed.


The people of the Waza Logone region are no longer in conflict with each other, but have joined forces to ensure the land is used properly and sustainably. Protected fishing lakes have been created in order to allow the fish population to re-establish. Once in a while fishing is permitted there. The proceeds from the fish sale are shared among the community members. This has earned the community enough money to, for instance, build schools and pay the teachers a salary. With this project, IUCN NL was one of the first funders of ACEEN’s work. Today, ACEEN plays a key role in promoting sustainable development in the Waza Logone region.

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Mark van der Wal
Senior Expert Ecosystems & Extractives