With the MWAMBAO team back in full-swing after the festive period, it's time to take a quick breather and recount what we've been doing for the past 6 months.
Further funding and continuing and new partner support from the Indian Ocean Commission, Fauna & Flora International and Blue Ventures has allowed us to further expand our collaborative-management octopus reef closure model.
The network component of our organisation has also been busy, with an exchange visit of fisher women from Tanzania to Kenya, and our Annual Network Meeting which took place in late January 2017.
We also have an update on our anti-blast-fishing network collaboration with WWF Tanzania and Sea Sense.
Please continue reading for further information on the highlights of the past 6 months, and short updates on our network, partnerships, new board members and conferences attended.
Highlights 'from the sea'
New Staff Member
MWAMBAO is pleased to welcome Aliy Abdurahim, who has 20 years of experience working in natural resources management. Ali is working primarily on our partnership project with Blue Ventures (described below) and will work alongside existing members of the MWAMBAO team.
Extending Reef Closures for Octopus in Pemba
We are proud to announce that we have been successful with a bid that will allow us to scale-up our sustainable octopus management work on Pemba, to include villages on Fundo Island, off the northwest coast of Pemba Island.
The work will be commencing in February 2017, with the first closures set to open during Ramadhan later this year.
Blue Ventures Partnership
MWAMBAO is also pleased to announce that we have entered a 1-year formal partnership with the award-winning organisation Blue Ventures (BV). BV have provided funding to extend the sustainable octopus management work we have been conducting on Pemba to three new villages on Unguja Island – Kiwengwa, Mtende and Tumbatu.
Capacity building activities for the Village Fisher Committees began in November 2016, followed by wider education and awareness campaigns for each community to be undertaken prior to the commencing of the first 3-month closures in March 2017.
MWAMBAO’s collaboration with WWF Tanzania and Sea Sense is set to continue and expand as a result of further funding. A second application led by WWF Tanzania was made to the IOC Biodiversity Fund, securing funding for 18 more months. As well as the continuation of the network of community recorders, capacity building activities will be conducted with Beach Management Units (BMUs) – local governance bodies made up of fishers, fish traders, boat owners and other stakeholders.
From May to November 2016 (with 30 days of recording in May and 8 days of recording in each of the subsequent months), a total of 4640 blasts were recorded, highlighting the pervasiveness of blast-fishing in coastal Tanzania (through extrapolation this could represent between 49,000 and 75,000 per year for the entire coast). Analysis reveals particularly high use of explosives in Lindi and Mtwara regions in the southeast, as well as Tanga region and the Kigamboni district of Dar-es-Salaam.
In the words of a dive operator in Dar-es-Salaam: “blast-fishing is like bombing in the middle of Ngorongoro Crater but because no-one sees the damage under the ocean, no-one cares”.
As the available dataset on blast location and time hotspots increases through the work of our data recorders, it will continue to be used for international and national advocacy, as well as assisting the authorities in targeted action.
(For more information on the background to this issue, please refer to our article ‘Dynamite fishing in Tanzania’ in Marine Pollution Bulletin, Issue 2, 30 Dec 2015).
During field visits participants learned about best practices in fisheries post-harvesting and value-adding methods such as sorting, cleaning, boiling and drying of anchovy (dagaa), fish trading and marketing, ecotourism and reef conservation.
MWAMBAO were hosted by Community Action for Nature Conservation (CANCO) Kenya who had also organized a conference for women fishers, during which various challenges and opportunities to increase income and improve livelihoods were shared and discussed. On November 21st, the participants then joined in World Fisheries Day celebrations organised by CANCO.
As well as these recent activities, our Annual Network Meeting – that brings together all members of our network from throughout Unguja, Pemba and mainland Tanzania – was held on Zanzibar on the 30th-31st of January. For the first day, field visits to Marinecultures, The Seaweed Centre, the Mangrove Boardwalk at Jozani Chwaka Bay National Park, and the seaweed and spice production workshop of the Tusifemoyo Women’s Cooperative at Kudoti Village were visited. On the next day, the network members participated in a workshop to address the lessons learnt from the field visits and the identification of challenges and solutions to tackle them in their respective villages.
First Village Marine Management Plan in Zanzibar - Capacity Building for Local Fisher Committees in Zanzibar
Much of Zanzibar’s fishing grounds are encompassed in ‘Marine Protected Areas’. The local governance structure at village level is the ‘Shehia Fisher Committee' (SFCs). Current legislation allows for SFCs to take a prominent role at the local level in collaborative marine management. Much of our work is to build the capacity of these committees to be able to do this. 2017 saw the drafting of the first SFC management plan and attending by-laws on Zanzibar, in the village of Kukuu, Pemba. This work is paramount in assisting the overstretched Department of Fisheries in effective marine management and MWAMBAO has produced a guidance manual for ‘standard operating procedures’ for SFCs.
In other news...
Sustainable Octopus Management on Pemba
The village of Kukuu have provided an exemplary model of collaborative management, voluntarily continuing their reef closure regime and are now on their fourth consecutive closure. In between closures they allow a limited number of paid fishers to access the area for not more than 2 days. The committee decide whether fishing of octopus and/or fish will be allowed and all proceeds of the harvest are then divided between the fisher’s committee and the community.
This model allows the committee to be compensated for patrol activities and provides income for identified community ventures such as buying doors and windows for the school, or the building of the nursery school.
Total catch of octopus on the day the first closure opened was 135kg, increasing to 222kg on the day the third closure opened. In monetary terms this equates to TSh. 540,000 ($257) for the first closure opening day and TSh. 886,000 ($421) on the opening of the third closure.
As well as our Annual Network Meeting, we have been conducting governance training over the past six months. In total, eight network groups (Kiwengwa, Jambiani and Kukuu from Unguja and Pemba, and Mlingotoni, Kigamboni, Chongoleani, Kigombe and Moa from mainland Tanzania) have taken part in these activities, with a focus on leadership, reporting, recording, communication skills and conflict management. These skills continue to help coastal communities advocate for their rights and overcome challenges they each face.
New Board Members
The past six months have seen three new Directors joining the Mwambao board. The first to join was Dr. Omar Amir, who is the current Deputy Director of the Deep-Sea Fishing Authority for the United Republic of Tanzania. Second is Gharib Twaha, our longtime accountant, who has been with us since MWAMBAO was founded in 2010. Third is Dr. Gill Braulik, a marine mammal specialist with over 15 years of experience, who is currently a Pew Fellow in Marine Conservation at the Wildlife Conservation Society in Tanzania.
At a time when our organisation continues to grow, Maliasili Initiativescontinues to play a crucial role in supporting our organisational development. Last year Maliasili staff hosted a fundraising strategy workshop which has helped us to better identify potential equitable funding opportunities. They also visited us in January 2017 to conduct further fund-raising organisational strengthening as well as 2017 annual work plan writing and planning for a organisational strategy workshop to take place later this year. We are also thankful to The Flora Family Foundation who continue to provide funding via Maliasili.
Flora and Fauna International (FFI)continue to be a key partner for us. Towards the end of last year FFI staff spent two weeks on Zanzibar and Pemba. During this time we conducted an intensive management planning workshop for next year’s programme activities, as well as hosting our primary donor, CML.
Towards the end of 2016 our partnership with the EU-funded IOC-SmartFish programme came to a conclusion. SmartFish have been a key partner of ours in recent years helping to pilot our octopus work.
Regional Networks and Meetings
MWAMBAO was invited to attend an ICT4Fisheries workshop in Cape Town, South Africa held by Abalobi, Blue Ventures and WIOMSA, bringing together fisher groups, fisher leaders, NGOs, academics and other stakeholders who are actively involved in using ICTs in assisting small-scale fishers in their day to day operations, including fishery monitoring, maritime safety, local development and exploiting market opportunities. Centred on the FAO Voluntary Guidelines for Securing Sustainable Small-Scale Fisheries (VG-SSF), key questions on data ownership, protection of local knowledge and power imbalances related to new technologies were addressed. MWAMBAO is now part of a larger regional network of of technicians and practitioners hoping to benefit from this technology in our work.
MWAMBAO also attended the regional meeting for the implementation of the Voluntary Guidelines for Securing Sustainable Small-Scale Fisheries, held in Mauritius in December 2016. Organised by the IOC, South African Development Community and the FAO, discussions resulted in various outcomes including identification of priorities and modalities for the implementation of the VG-SSF and an Action Plan that incorporates lessons from past and ongoing initiatives.
And now for a video...
The above video was shown at the IUCN World Conservation Congress that was held in Hawaii in September 2016. It details MWAMBAO's use of participatory video as a tool for conservation and community empowerment.
To sign off this update on what MWAMBAO has been doing in the latter half of 2016 and the start of 2017, we'd like to wish all of our friends, partners and supporters a productive and fruitful 2017.
With the world's reefs looking increasingly likely to be hit by an unprecedented third year of coral bleaching in a row, we must continue to advocate for sound climate science and the rights of coastal communities that rely on healthy reef ecosystems for their livelihoods, income and food security.