Protecting Africa’s Eastern coast

Geographical location:

Africa/Madagascar > East Africa > Kenya

Africa/Madagascar > East Africa > Tanzania

Eastern Africa Marine Ecoregion.
© WWF Tanzania / Dr Amani Ngusaru

Summary

From southern Somalia to the shores of South Africa, this 4,600-kilometre coastline and its ocean waters are an area of exceptionally high biodiversity. Here one finds dense mangrove forests, pristine coral reefs and thousands of animal and plants species. This includes 50 species of starfish, over 1,500 species of sea cucumbers, 1,000 different seaweeds, 1,500 species of fish and 3,000 molluscs.

With some 22 million people living along the eastern African coast, marine resources in some areas have been overexploited, resulting in significant ecological changes. WWF works with partners at the local, national and regional level to secure a healthy marine environment along the coast of East Africa. The aim is to not only protect marine areas but sustainably manage the natural resources for the benefit of coastal communities and regional economies.

Background

One of the most important EAME endangered species is the sea cow, whose slow breeding rate and long life span mean is particularly susceptible to factors that threaten its survival. The WWF project seeks to reduce dudong mortality by 15% and a status report for the dudong population in the whole of the western Indian Ocean region is underway. It will also offer protection to the sea turtle.

The project seeks to establish an ecologically representative network of marine protected areas and other legally protected resource conservation areas in EAME.

WWF also aims to improve legislation, management systems and institutional capacity for sustainable fisheries throughout the ecoregion. The EAME project will be championed at country and regional level.

Objectives

Main objective

Carry out necessary activities to build towards the implementation of ecoregion-based conservation in the EAME. The EAME programme works with partners to secure a healthy marine environment along the coast of East Africa, with the marine resources protected, managed and utilized sustainably for the benefit of the coastal communities and the regional economies.

Specific objectives

- Coordinate and champion the EAME strategy at country and regional level.

- Improve policy, legislation, governance, management systems and institutional capacity for sustainable fisheries throughout the ecoregion.

- Establish an ecologically representative network of MPAs and other legally protected resource conservation areas in EAME.

- Stop and reverse the decline of threatened species such as sea turtles and dugongs.

- Protect key sites, processes and wildlife populations in the coastal and marine habitats of the region.

- Promote the implementation of policies and practices that support protection and wise use of marine resources.

- Strengthen the capacity of local, national, and regional institutions to effectively participate in the conservation and appropriate use of marine resources.

- Improve available information on which to base key management decisions.

- Better inform community participants, practitioners, academics/trainers, government decision makers, opinion leaders and donors, and use this knowledge to improve their own practice.

- Facilitate the process for coastal communities to be better organized and networked, creating better links to other EAME partners.

Solution

One of the most important EAME endangered species is the sea cow, whose slow breeding rate and long life span mean is particularly susceptible to factors that threaten its survival. The WWF project seeks to reduce dudong mortality by 15 % and a status report for the dudong population in the whole of the western Indian Ocean region is underway. It will also offer protection to the sea turtle.

The project seeks to establish an ecologically representative network of marine protected areas and other legally protected resource conservation areas in EAME.

WWF also wants to improve legislation, management systems and institutional capacity for sustainable fisheries throughout the ecoregion. The EAME project will be championed at country and regional level.

Achievement

EAME coordinating structures: there has been operationalization of the EAME national committees and focal institutions.

Documentation: 3 environmental action planning documents have been completed, namely vision, strategy and conservation plan.

Dugong status report: WWF launched the most comprehensive study to date on Africa’s most endangered mammal - the dugong. The publication of the dugong status report has generated positive responses from around the world.

Ramsar site: the Zambezi delta has been declared a Ramsar site.

Increase in percentage of priority areas: good progress realised in the establishment of Primeiras and Segundas National Park in Mozambique. The establishments of Rufiji-Mafia-Kilwa seascape programme were all great achievements in increasing the percentage of priority areas that are placed under conservation. The approval of the Quirimbas general management plan by the government of Mozambique was a step forward in implementing conservation programmes in the largest marine protected area (MPA) in EAME.

Negotiations: discussions have been initiated for the Eastern African and Western Indian Ocean states to consider negotiating as a block for the use of their shared fish stocks by distant water fleets.

Marine turtles: there has been a 0% poaching rate of marine turtles within the Mafia Island Marine Park.

Policy: initiated a policy analysis process for Tanzania towards the development of a national oil and gas strategy. The final draft of the fisheries policy in Kenya has also been produced.

Other key achievements:
- Fisheries pre-analysis project launched for the countries of Kenya, Tanzania and Mozambique towards fisheries certification in the ecoregion.
- A forum for Western Indian Ocean (WIO) fisheries directors on fisheries partnership agreements established.
- A successful EAME side event at the Convention on Migratory Species COP8.
- Almost all beach seine nets now eliminated from the Mafia Island Marine Park.
- The first attempt was made to cultivate pearls in the WIO as an alternative livelihood in the Mafia Island.
- WWF is participating in a partnership process that aims to govern fisheries in Sub-Saharian Africa, many of which face commercial collapse.
- Turtle excluder devices (TEDs) are mandatory in Mozambique.
- Sustainable fishing gear programme established in Kiunga, Kenya.
- A learning programme launched for EAME MPAs.
- A forum for EAME MPA managers established. The MPA managers’ exchange visits conducted in the Mafia Island provided great learning opportunity for them.
- The EAME programme of implementation (PIA) was finally signed in December 2006.
- Participation in the WWF climate change side event during the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) COP12 where EAME climate change witness testimonies were showcased was a great success.
- Promotion of MPA management effectiveness through dissemination of management tools to 52 target groups.
- Bycatch and stock assessment has been adopted as course of action for all tuna regional fisheries management organisations (RFMOs) by the Kobe conference held in Japan.
- Initiated a process for developing sustainable financing mechanism for MPAs in Mozambique.

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