The plan was developed based on previous experience of Portuguese partners during several short expeditions to São Tomé Island and from extensive experience of São Tomé e Príncipe (STP) partners, such as academia, governmental bodies, and NGOs. The development of the project and preparation of the final report will be within 36 months from the date of approval of the proposal. The project will be developed in 5 phases

Phase 1.

Reinforce partnership and researcher’s network

This project will reinforce the partnership already established among project partners, plus the invitation to the STP governmental bodies and the Aga Khan network, to ensure long term support of monitoring, assessment and capacity building in marine sciences and quality of life through an efficient network of researchers.

Phase 2.

Study, monitor and conservation of ‘peixinho’

There is no scientific information about the biology and ecology of ‘peixinho’, neither about their catches. And the only available information came from local people (e.g., fishing practices). Thus, this project intends to study the life cycle, feeding ecology, dispersion and behaviour, monitor, and define conservation and fishing practices. Local NGOs will work closely to improve quality of life of local people, where several ways of improved income have been already tested with local products and services.

Phase 3.

Contribution to the marine and riverine species record

More detailed knowledge of oceanography and biodiversity is needed to contextualize the occurrences of species in the island. Thus, taking advantage of the resources spent, this project also intends to report and review the biodiversity in nearshore and riverine areas, as well as compile meteorological and oceanographic data from international databases (e.g., WOD, CMEMS). Two intensive field surveys will be conducted in the main rivers and coastal area of São Tomé Island, during the wet and dry (Gravana) seasons. Beyond these periods, regular monitoring will be done locally by local partners. During field surveys abiotic variables (temperature, salinity, dissolved oxygen, pH, microplastics, etc.) will be measured.

Phase 4.

Stock assessment of ´peixinho´ and other fishing resources

Stock assessment will be carried out to goby fry fisheries (‘peixinho’) and other important species [e.g., large pelagic – andala fish, and demersal (reef) species], based on the quantity and quality of the data obtained.

Phase 5.

Dissemination and capacity building

The dissemination in local communities is an important component of the project, with exhibitions, guides of marine biodiversity and good practices in fisheries, and a documentary about the ‘peixinho’ life cycle. It is also planned the execution of some intensive courses in the field of marine and riverine biodiversity, fisheries, oceanographic data and scientific writing; the incentive to integrate postgraduate courses; and the integration in the Collaborative Center of Excellence in Marine Sciences (CCEMAR) already in development throughout other project (Luandawaterfront – Angola).