Conservation in Mozambique - Eyes on the Horizon
Mozambique creates Africa’s largest coastal marine reserve.
Last month brought the fantastic news that the Government of Mozambique has created the largest marine protected area in Africa, covering over 4020 square miles of the coastline. Located in the Primeiras and Segundas Archipelago between the Nampula and Zambezia Provinces, this area is home to five of the world’s seven sea turtle species and is a key breeding site for dugongs, seabirds and marine turtles. It is also said to house the most robust and diverse coral community in Mozambique.
Gill nets cause chaos in Zavora.
Four manta rays, one smalleye stingray, one hawksbill turtle and a number of devil rays were caught in gill nets in Zavora over just two days in November. Despite fishermen being receptive to releasing the mantas, they were only willing to do so if they didn’t have to cut their nets. After a first unsuccessful attempt by divers to free the animals, the nets were pulled from the water where it became apparent that the manta rays were too tangled, hurt and tired to be rescued. A group from Zavora Marine Lab were only able to save a small devil ray and the hawksbill turtle. Maritime later went to the area and confiscated all illegal fishing nets, and Zavora Marine Lab are hoping to do some educational work with the fishermen. According to locals in the area, around three to four devil rays are caught on a daily basis in this location.
SOURCE: ACCM - Zavora Marine Lab
Illegal fishing costs Mozambique over 1 billion meticals per year.
The Mozambique state loses annual revenues of over 1 billion meticals (34 million US dollars) due to illegal fishing practices according to Manuel Castiano, the National Director of Fisheries Inspection. Africa as a whole is thought to be losing over 1 billion US dollars per year.
Mr Castiano estimates that around 2,000 tonnes of fisheries produce is taken from Mozambican waters by illegal fishing vessels annually, which is preventing the fisheries sector from increasing its contribution to Mozambique’s Gross Domestic Product above 3%.
SOURCE: Club of Mozambique
The Researcher's Corner:
By Jess Williams
Working in the Inhambane province, Jess Williams has designed a project to collect a wide array of information on sea turtles and their threats, particularly illegal poaching, in order to propose practical conservation, management and alternative livelihood solutions for those relying on poaching. She aims to identify the drivers behind why fishermen have converted to sea turtle fishing in recent years and reverse this trend.
For more information follow Jess on www.mozturtles.com.
Whale shark falls victim to gill nets at Coconut Bay.
Following a report from microlight pilot Janneman Conradie that he had spotted a whale shark carcass at Coconut Bay, a representative from EOTH was deployed to investigate the situation. After interviewing the local fishermen it became apparent that the animal had unsuspectingly swum into one of several gill nets along this stretch of coastline, became entangled and - despite the fishermen’s efforts to save their nets and release the shark - eventually the animal died and was dragged to the shore and cut up for meat.
Interestingly, the EOTH team found both pectoral fins on the beach indicating that this animal was not targeted for the shark fin trade. Still, this is worrying for whale shark conservation given the steep decline in sightings over the past seven years in the area, which is thought to be at least partly attributable to unsustainable fishing.
The crew in the microlight reported that the biggest concentration of nets on their transect along the Inhambane coastline was seen at Coconut Bay with around 10 nets counted from the air. In addition to the whale shark, several other species of shark had also been caught.
SOURCE: Eyes on the Horizon.
Mozambique provides loans to artisanal fishermen.
Over 200 aquaculture and artisanal fishing projects in seven Mozambican provinces will start receiving loans next year for the production, preservation, processing, transport, and sale of fish. The loans are part of a programme to improve the living conditions of fishing communities.
SOURCE: Club of Mozambique
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