Posted on 23 March 2019
On the 3rd of March 2019 the World joined hands to celebrate World Wildlife Day. This year for the first time the focus was on Marine with the theme; life below water for people and planet.
The day aimed at raising awareness about the diversity of marine wildlife and its benefits to our everyday lives and calling the world being individuals, organizations or governments to take action and ensure that the biodiversity of marine life is preserved for generations to come.
WWF Tanzania spent the day at the beach not as tourists or your everyday beach goer but it was with the intention to give voice to the communities living along the coast of Indian Ocean and who largely depend on the ocean and marine for their livelihoods.
While in Kigamboni we met the Fisheries officer Mr. Ernest Kamata explained that the government is Kigamboni is working really hard to make sure that the marine species which some of thema rae rare and endangered are protected and the communities living at the coast are benefiting from the ocean but at the same time are aware that it is their responsibility to protect the ocean. “the communities that live at the coast are the number one stakeholders of the ocean, we work hard to remind them that the ocean is theirs to use and to take care because if it gets destroyed today no benefit will be reaped in future”.
He appreciated WWF Tanzania for supporting the protection of marine species by educating the communities and supporting them establishing other economic activities that help in reducing their dependence on the ocean.
Under the Marine Programme with support from NORAD WWF Tanzania has supported the establishment of Beach Management Units which are the custodians of the protection and conservation of the marine life, supports them by giving them equipment and other working gears. But above all these awareness around blasting fishing which has led to a high reduction of the illegal activity across the coast of Indian Ocean from Dar Es Salaam to Mtwara and as far as Tanga. The establishment of Village Community Banks (VICOBA) has as well reduced to a big extent the dependence on the ocean and improved people’s livelihoods.
This world wildlife day was an opportunity to remind each other of the benefits of marine and coastal resources which are enormous. Over 3 billion people depend on these resources for their livelihoods globally. The market value of marine and coastal resources and related industries is estimated at US$3 trillion per year, about 5% of global GDP. And on the other side to look into the challenges that the marine still faces; amongst them is their unsustainable exploitation for international trade. Over 30% of commercially exploited marine fish stocks are overfished. The disposition of plastic is the ocean is another biggest threat currently where the world was reminded that if the situation isn’t changing them by the turn of the century we will have more plastics in the ocean than fishes.
“This calls for every one of us the make a determined decision to reduce these threats for our benefit and the benefits of our future generations” Concluded the fisheries officer Mr. Ernest.
The day was concluded by cleaning out the beach at Kigamboni where several members of the community joined and took part in the noble action.