Northern Mozambique Channel initiative | WWF
© WWF-US / James Morgan

Enclosed by Madagascar on one side and part of the East coast of Africa on the other, the Northern Mozambique Channel sees 30% of global tanker traffic plying its waters while trillions of gas reserves wait to be tapped below the sea. It is also a trove of coral diversity and tuna.

In this part of the world, WWF and partners are working closely with local institutions and governments to help carve a new development path–one that involves large-scale conservation while contributing to sustainable economic development and the prosperity of the region.

Map of the Northern Mozambique Channel


Over the next 10-30 years, this region is likely to undergo major economic development and demographic growth--perhaps among the highest in Africa. Unless this change is effectively managed, there is a substantial risk that the rich marine resources of the region will be unsustainably exploited. As a result, the lives of millions of people who directly rely on these resources could take a turn for the worse.

An area where divergent needs intersect

The Northern Mozambique Channel is:
  • 2nd richest in the world in terms of coral reef biodiversity
  • a strategic shipping passage, supporting 30% of global tanker traffic
  • a rich fishing ground with tuna fisheries worth $2 billion/yr in the Western Indian Ocean
  • a reservoir for small-scale fishers who account for 70-80% of all catches
  • a future major producer of natural gas, over 100 trillion cubic feet (known as of 2015)
  • an increasingly popular destination for coastal tourism and diving.
Made up of ten islands off the coast of northern Mozambique, this coastal marine reserve in the Primeiras and Segundas Archipelago will cover more than 4020 square miles

© WWF / Caroline Simmonds

Visionary, collaborative, integrated...

The premise of the Northern Mozambique Channel initiative is simple: to support the countries in the region to value, protect, and even enhance the natural ocean assets that are central to their economies.

At its core, the initiative promotes sustainable practices and integrated management of marine-based activities such as fishing, tourism, extractives and shipping into the long term.

A partnership approach

WWF and CORDIO - our key partner in the region - are working with governments, communities, partners (see below) and businesses to develop integrated solutions that will secure sustainable futures for communities and safeguard natural assets.

Identifying and protecting critical habitats (e.g. fish spawning grounds, migratory corridors) from overexploitation and degradation is the cornerstone of so-called “integrated ocean management” to ensure the ocean remains healthy and continues to deliver food and benefits for local economies.

In practice, we assist local stakeholders to replicate and expand smart solutions that benefit the marine environment and people’s quality of life, such as spreading Locally Managed Marine Areas and making it possible for communities and experts to share responsible fishing practices for example.

Ultimately, our goal is to help countries make the Northern Mozambique Channel a model of integrated ocean management based on Blue Economy Principles. To make this happen, we support governments in formulating a vision for the region and turn it into reality with tangible actions.

Expanding the partnership

WWF and partners invite all stakeholders across the region to join the partnership, which is taking place within the framework of the Nairobi Convention, and develop a common vision for the sustainable development of marine and coastal activities in the Northern Mozambique Channel.

Nairobi Convention CoP8 (22-24 June 2015, Seychelles)

WWF and partners congratulate the Parties to the Nairobi Convention for their Decisions in support of the Northern Mozambique Channel as a good example of an integrated ocean management approach and for calling on cooperation in improving the governance of areas beyond national jurisdiction in the Western Indian Ocean Region, by building on existing regional institutions and by developing area based management tools such as marine spatial planning to promote the blue economy pathways.

Decisions and outcomes


Harifidy Ralison
NMCi Leader

David Obura
NMCi Strategic Advisor
CORDIO East Africa