Posted on 06 February 2020
WWF Tanzania in collaboration with The Nature Conservancy (TNC) and Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) was honoured to host donors and supporters of conservation in the Indian Ocean in the Mafia Island. The delegation that included Margaret A. Cargill Philanthropies (MACP), Waitt Foundation and Blue Prosperity Coalition/Ocean 5.
The purpose of the trip was to expose the donors to WWF Marine programme area (Mafia) in order to attract funds for promoting advanced effective practices in community-based natural resource management in the seascape area—to support marine protected areas and CFMAs/ locally managed marine areas, protect marine ecosystems, and secure the livelihoods and well-being of coastal communities that depend on them.
On arrival in the Mafia Island the team was received by the Mafia District Commissioner Who expressed his appreciation on the role WWF is playing in the fisheries sector. He said the government alone cannot meet the demand of the artisanal fishers therefore collaboration with other stake holders is very important. “the fish from Mafia, not only feed the country but it goes beyond our borders to Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), therefore we need to improve infrastructure at the landing site with an objective of improving fish handling and finally the quality. I encourage you to share with others the opportunities to invest in tourism which is a growing industry and support communities in terms for patrol equipment especially motor boats”
said the District Commissioner.
Discussions around the role Beach Management Units (BMUs) play in the protection of the ocean and marine resources, the management of the Marine Parks and tourism in the Mafia Island were part of the delegation’s trip.
The team was treated to a swim with the whale sharks in Kilindoni which left everyone of them in awe and excitement to finally meet the gentle giant fish some of them for the first time!
The BMU in Kilindoni got the opportunity to share success stories with the team where they reported on being able to unite stakeholder/resource users, on a platform that helps in working around contributing to the fisheries sector, The BMU has been instrumental in educating fishermen around the provisions of fisheries policies, Acts and Regulations and by-laws. They explained that their catch has indeed increased now that the BMU is keen in patrolling and monitoring the activities in the ocean. The highlight was the report that dynamite fishing has completely been controlled and not incident has been reported for the past two years.
They couldn’t come from Mafia without meeting the Village Community Banks (VICOBA) which is a model economic project for current Marine project at WWF Tanzania. The delegation was received by happy and cheerful ladies who work together and support each other through contributions in the VICOBA. The economic revolution for these women is impressive.
The trip ended by a summarized initiatives that WWF Tanzania has spear headed within the Marine Parks and outside presented by Dr. Modesta Medard the coordinator for Marine Conservation programme and some testimonies from the community members who have benefitted from these initiatives. Dr. Modesta also spoke of the future plans and described the potential areas in the Island and the RUMAKI Area as a whole. “The RUMAKI area has huge unbroken block of mangrove forest (unique to Tanzania), extensive sea grass beds, patchy but abundance corals and coral fish, small and large pelagic are in abundance, however there is big threat to them emanating from Illegal Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) fishing, but the concept of co-management is working and results are seen. There is a huge reduction of destructive fishing and the highest scourge was blast fishing which is now zero occurrences”.
Ms. Zubia Ugama, a Community Based Trainer (CBT) of micro credit was trained by WWF in 2007, to train other how to run small businesses save money to support family livelihood. “I am so grateful for this opportunity, through it I have managed to establish 6 groups with 180 members, my personal economic status has also improved a lot. When I was starting I had only 4 cows now I have 25 cows, trust me when I say this is a traditional rarely practised here but I have done it. I own a small corner shop, a wooden transport boat which travels as far as Zanzibar. From these investments I have managed to enrol my son into a private academic and sports school”. She says.
After the three well packed days the delegation was ready to go back home. They were treated to a great Island expedition and adventures that for sure will last a life time.