"The Fish Migrate and so Must We": The Relationship between International and Internal Environmental Mobility in a Senegalese Fishing Community

Caroline Zickgraf, Université de Liège

In 2008, the UN designated Saint-Louis “the city most threatened by rising sea levels in the whole of Africa”. The people of Guet Ndar, a densely populated fishing quarter, are coping with environmental challenges on two fronts: 1) coastal erosion and intensifying storms have destroyed sea-front homes, and, 2) overfishing and climate change’s maritime impacts are making local fishing less feasible as a livelihood strategy. Based on a local case study, this paper examines Guet Ndarian migration as an adaptive response to environmental risks and more specifically climate change: 1) through the intensification of fishing migration to Mauritania, and 2) through home construction on the mainland away from the encroaching sea. Although these population movements respond to different environmental challenges, this paper identifies their enmeshment as the former facilitates the latter. Furthermore, it embeds these migratory dynamics in their socio-economic context and applies mobility and transnational paradigms to environmentally vulnerable areas.

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Presented in Session 113: Environmental Change, Migration, and Adaptation