WWF campaign bears fruit in Mafia
The campaign is beginning to have the desired effects in areas such as marine conservation following the decision by a group of six youths to abandon illegal fishing methods in favour of modern fishing and other legal undertakings. The move came after five years of WWF’s campaign on the island.
Following their decision, the youths were issued with zero-interest loans ranging from 2m/- to 5m/- after getting basic training in running small-scale businesses.
The training is aimed at enabling them to run their businesses efficiently and repay the loans according to schedule.
The youths plan to start retail and petroleum products businesses in addition to buying modern fishing gear and selling fresh fish in Mafia and Dar es Salaam.
Speaking at a function in which the loans were handed over to the youths, the Sustainable Fisheries Officer for Mafia Island Marine Park, Masoud Kipanga, said that Mafia Island Marine Park (MIMP) and WWF had been working closely to educate communities on the island to abandon illegal fishing methods and engage in sustainable fishing.
’’But we did not expect them to abandon the destructive methods without providing them with alternative means of income.
Hence the training in running small-scale business and the subsequent issue of interest-free loans,’’he said.
All the recipients of the loans come from within eleven villages that are within the MIMP project area.
Kipanga said efforts to educate communities to abandon destructive fishing methods had also been directed to areas outside the project area including islets surrounding Mafia Island.
’’We have recorded success in Bwejuu Island. The fishermen there no longer use small size nets. Residents of Chole Island are on the move and they should completely stop using illegal fishing gear in the near future.
Click here to read the full story by the Guardian Correspondent in Mafia.