In Sierra Leone in 2015 the life expectancy for males was under 50 years and the infant mortality rate was 9.4%. It is ranked 4th lowest in the world on the IFPRI World Hunger Index. In Sierra Leone 70% of dietary animal protein originates from seafood leaving the population vulnerable to a reduction in seafood supply due to over-exploitation and climate change.
James green, who has a MSc in Sustainable Aquaculture, was originally asked to go to the main administrative centre of Bonthe Town in the Sherbro River estuary to work as a pro-bono consultant for the environmental charity Environmental justice foundation in 2013. This was to look at ways to offset destructive harvesting practices of wild mangrove oysters by the introduction of simple oyster aquaculture techniques.
Simple spat collectors of oysters shells threaded onto strings and hung from frames in the intertidal zones were used to collect oyster spat and gian information about growth rates and seasonal variability.
This project was put on hold due to the outbreak of Ebola and then incorporated into the Darwin Initiative Funded project 'Alternative livelihood opportunities for marine protected areas fisherwomen' that started in 2014 and finished in 2018. For more information and the final report visit: darwininitiative.org.uk.
Now the project has finished the Whitstable Oyster Fishery Company has committed to fund the next five years of the Bonthe Oyster Festival, one of the projects successful outcomes, and associated activities to ensure this important work continues.
We want to fund more work in Sierra Leone so have also committed to give 1 penny from every oyster sale in Whitstable from 1st May 2019, so every one of our oysters you eaten in whitstable will help in a small way to a more sustainable future for Fisherwomen in the Sherbro river estuary.
'Jena Bacong, 40, collecting mangrove oysters with machete in dugout canoe near Bonthe Island. She has 8 children, one of which died recently and a husband who is too ill to work. She must hire the canoe each day to collect oysters which are her only source of income.'
Sunday Times September 2018
From Whitstable to Sierra Leone we are trying to promote a sustainable future through oysters
An update from Dr Francis Murray:
"The Third Annual Bonthe Oyster Festival (Sierra Leone) Promotes Value-Added Smoked Mangrove Oyster Products with Support of the Whitstable Oyster Company" (PDF)
Donate to the Bonthe Project
We donate 1p for each Oyster sold across our Whitstable Oyster Company sites and have donated £15,134, making a total of £15,154 raised for the Bonthe Project, Sierra Leone.