Summary of Key Findings

  • The inland waters of western Africa support a high diversity of aquatic species with high levels of endemism. Many of these species provide direct (e.g. fisheries) and indirect (e.g. water purification) benefits to people. The conservation of these species is most important to the livelihoods and economies of the regions’ people.
  • More than 14% of species across the region are currently threatened and future levels of threat are expected to rise significantly due to a growing population and the corresponding demand of natural resources.
  • Data on the distributions, conservation status, and ecology of all 1,395 known species of fishes, molluscs, odonates, crabs and selected aquatic plants are now freely available through this project and the IUCN Red List website to inform conservation and development planners.
  • The data made available through this assessment must be integrated within the decision-making processes in planning for the conservation and development of inland water resources. Lack of available information should no longer be given as a reason for inadequate consideration for development impacts to freshwater species.
  • Species information remains very limited for many species within the region with between 10% (fishes) and 22% (crabs) assessed as Data Deficient. Information on the status and distribution of aquatic plants needs to be greatly improved throughout the region.