Sustainable Seas: Addressing destructive fishing practices in the Inhambane Province, Mozambique
Mozambique, one of the poorest countries in the world, is home to precious marine biodiversity. The plankton rich waters off the Inhambane Province are a critical hotspot for over 30 vulnerable and endangered elasmobranch species, including whale sharks and manta rays. However, since 2005, Marine Megafauna Foundation (MMF) has documented a decline in those species’ sightings.
The waters around Mozambique are over-fished and it is becoming increasingly difficult to sustain artisanal fisheries, while fishing and marine tourism are a fundamental livelihood in the Province. Destructive fishing methods (including use of gill nets, small mesh drag-nets, intensive spear fishing), over-fishing, lack of management and high-demand are having a huge impact on the marine biodiversity. In some locations, the Government of Mozambique, NGOs and local communities are supporting the creation of LMMAs (Locally Managed Marine Areas) as an effective way of managing and preserving marine resources. Community Fisheries Committees (CCPs) are involved but their activities are sometimes limited due to a lack of resources and competing demands between different stakeholders.
The aim of this project is to improve marine resource management with a visible reduction in destructive fishing practices and increased commitment to ocean conservation. This will address threats to vulnerable species, reverse the impact of over-fishing and help communities to protect their valuable natural resources for future generations.
- Four fishing communities will manage self-sustaining LMMAs along the Inhambane coast, monitoring the conservation outcomes and threats and preventing destructive fishing activities. Training workshops will be provided, reefs closed and monitored and an annual learning event gathering all the partners will be held to discuss achievements, challenges and good practices.
- A network of passionate and influential Ocean Ambassadors and Ocean Guardians from six communities will be strengthened to advocate for sustainable fishing practices and protection of their marine ecosystem.
- Indiscriminate and destructive fishing methods and over-fishing will be reduced in order to tackle unsustainable pressure on fish stocks and the catch of vulnerable species. A sustainable fish consumer guide will be developed, a feasibility study to create pilot sustainable fishing cooperatives will be conducted, community savings and loan groups will be developed, Ocean Rangers will be trained to monitor fishing practices, and sustainable alternative livelihoods will be supported in order for fishers to reduce their reliance on fishing.