Mozambique – An excellent news for marine biodiversity
Marine Megafauna Foundation (MMF), supported by Fondation Ensemble, just announced that Mozambique has passed a law aiming to protect various endangered marine species. Whalesharks, manta-rays as well as mobulas are targeted among other species.
Researches led by the NGO showed the importance of mozambican coast for whale sharks. Human pressures, such as accidental catch in gillnets, halved their global population since the 1980s. In 2013, the NGO reported a 79% decline in whale shark sightings and an 88% decline in reef manta sightings, and these trends continue. Simultaneously, a study led by the NGO showed the economic importance of manta rays and other megafauna to the Mozambican tourism industry: $34 million USD per year of direct economic impact of manta ray tourism, and a projected yearly loss of $16-$25 million USD if Mozambique were to lose manta rays.
In addition to the protection granted to mantas, mobulas, and whale sharks, the law also includes the following new regulations:
- Fishers must land the full body of any shark caught with fins attached
- New clearer regulations for Community Fishing Councils
- A ban on destructive fishing practices on coral, seagrass, or mangroves
- A ban on the harvesting of live coral
- Bycatch must be thrown back unless you have prior written permission to use it for research
- Turtle excluder devices are mandated on industrial and semi-industrial nets
Fondation Ensemble supports various sustainable fishing projects in Mozambique (including the one implemented by MMF):
- ‘Sustainable Seas: Addressing destructive fishing practices in the Inhambane Province‘, implemented by Marine Megafauna Foundation
- ‘Biodiversity of Ponta do Ouro Partial Marine Reserve improved for the socio-economic benefit of fishing communities‘, implemented by Peace Parks Foundation
- ‘Entrepreneurial Biodiversity Conservation‘, implemented by Ocean Revolution
- ‘Sustainable fishing and alternative livelihood for communities living adjacent to the Ponta do Ouro Marine Reserve‘ implemented by Peace Parks Foundation
- ‘Natural resources conservation and economic development for fisheries coastal communities of the Quirimbas National Park‘ implemented by Istituto Oikos
- ‘Securing marine biodiversity through sustainably-financed and locally-managed marine areas in coastal Mozambique – “Our sea, Our life”‘ implemented by ZSL
For the full press release click here.
Image © Anna Flam – Marine Megafauna Foundation