Improved management practices and knowledge
Villagers from Kisiwa Panza and Kukuu have volunteered to close 436 hectares of fishing grounds for three month periods to allow the octopus to replenish there. Mwambao is working with the village fishery committees to implement their plans through the creation of local village by-laws and to raise awareness with nearby villages. The opening of the areas coincide with the month of Ramadhan; a notable increase in average weight and total catch of octopus as a result of the closures provide a boost in income for community members at a time of especially high expenditure.
Mwambao has partnered with the Reefball Foundation International, Marinecultures and the local fisheries committee in Jambiani, Unguja to build the first artificial Reefball Project on the African continent. 87 reefballs have been deployed in March 2015 in an area that the committee are going to manage as a no-take zone to act as a fish nursery to support the local fishery. Mwambao is working with the committee to successfully manage the area which will also be used as a tourist snorkelling attraction.
Scientific and local understanding of coastal marine ecosystems
Through community film, villagers from Jambiani have filmed local coastal sacred forest groves, the only remaining pockets of forest biodiversity, documented the traditions associated with them and the history of the village from local elders. This information has been archived with the Department of Antiquities. Mwambao is working with partners to promote conservation of these forest groves.
Community members Kisiwa Panza and Kukuu have been actively involved in a range of participatory monitoring activities. Initially, six fishers were trained in community biodiversity monitoring of coral reef ecosystems. Using this knowledge, the trainees later played a key role in monitoring the sea cucumber fishery in the surrounding fishing grounds. Other members of the community have been trained in data collection and analysis of octopus catch, providing crucial feedback on the impacts of octopus closures.
Informed and aware communities
For the villagers of Mlingotini, community film has enabled them to document their local sites of cultural, historical and ecological value. This is important in the face of upcoming Port and EPZ development targeted for the area.
Strengthened local coastal community networks
For the villagers of Kiwengwa, Mwambao provided a forum for the Water Authority and local hoteliers to hear their voice about difficulties accessing freshwater where local wells have become salty due to over-extraction of freshwater from local caves. The Water Authority has promised a more reliable water supply in the coming year. Learn more about this work in a short video.