Ensuring marine protection through Locally Managed Marine Area at Vamizi island in Mozambique

Opening of CCP office
Published: 24 August 2018
Last edited: 02 October 2020
remove_red_eye 2503 Views

Summary

A unique partnership between a lodge, a university and the local communities (especially the CCP, Community Fishing Council), resulted in more than 12 years of protection of natural resources through the Locally Managed Marine Area (LMMA) of Vamizi Island, or as it is locally known: a sanctuary.

The solution focused on the mitigation of the two biggest problems of the local community: health and education. Supporting medical aid and capacity building for teachers of a local school were the “exchange currency” for starting an LMMA on the island.  After initial mistrust, fishermen were persuaded to cooperate: 6 years later, fisheries around Vamizi improved and became significantly better than those in surrounding waters.

Vamizi Island is now famous for its LMMA, a place where taking turtles, mosquito net fishing and illegal scuba diving are banned. The LMMA has increased the fisher’s catch rates and can count on the Fisheries Council to control illegal fishing around it.

Classifications

Region
East and South Africa
Scale of implementation
Local
Ecosystem
Coral reef
Mangrove
Marine and coastal ecosystems
Theme
Coastal and marine spatial management
Indigenous people
Islands
Local actors
Protected and conserved areas management planning
Sustainable financing
Challenges
Loss of Biodiversity
Unsustainable harvesting incl. Overfishing
Lack of alternative income opportunities
Changes in socio-cultural context
Lack of food security
Unemployment / poverty
Sustainable development goals
SDG 12 – Responsible consumption and production
SDG 14 – Life below water
Aichi targets
Target 6: Sustainable management of aquatic living resources
Target 11: Protected and conserved areas
Target 14: Ecosystem services

Location

Vamizi island, Palma, North Mozambique
Show on Protected Planet

Challenges

  • Extreme poverty and food insecurity
  • Very remote location, leading to increased cultural, spatial and language segregation from the rest of Mozambique
  • These factors contribute to a lack of livelihoods and conservation interventions.

Beneficiaries

Coastal fishing communities around Vamizi island

How do the building blocks interact?

The Health&education (BB1) was the foundation for all the initial support of the community to the LMMA. After 6 years, the community saw the results (BB4) around the LMMA and outside Vamizi and they finally realized how important the LMMA is to the future of their livelihoods.

The remaining building blocks work together to create conditions, financially (BB2) and technically (BB3) that, when proper managed, generate strong community support. Most of the other LMMA’s around Vamizi failed because the external support for the LMMA finished and the communities didn’t have the means (boat and gasoline) to patrol the area or the legal support to proceed with fines or ways to continue monitoring of the LMMA. Vamizi having a lodge that provided support for the gasoline and the engine of the boat, made it possible for the CCP of Vamizi to continue to enforce the LMMA (BB2).  Also, the fees that are charged to the tourists allow the CCP to do some more patrols. The technical support of the University (BB3) provides continued environmental education, legal support and biological monitoring allowing to the new members of the CCP and the community (most of Vamizi population are migrant fishermen) to be remembered of the importance of the CCP.

Impacts

The first positive reaction from the community was being proud of their clinic and school, finally they could go to a consultation without leaving the island and their children could study without leaving their home. A project for distributing meals in the school kept children attending classes. Grants for girls’ education are supporting the best female students and changing mentalities about girls’ education, changing people’s sentiment about it or at least making them discuss it. These first steps had a substantial impact on the village and made people more willing to accept tourism and the LMMA.

Meanwhile, the CCP developed artisanal buoys, to demarcate the LMMA, made of local materials to avoid theft. Now CCPs from the mainland come to see how they are built and are reproducing the system. . Other lodges are following in the steps of the Vamizi experience, supporting not only the patrols of the LMMAs, but also providing better education and health in remote locations. 

Research shows that the number of species and individual fishes found there has increased, and so has the size and quantity of fish caught locally.

Overall Vamizi LMMA is a leading example of a successful cooperation between tourism, university and communities, but also an LMMA that is changing the lives of surrounding communities for the better.

 

Story

Vamizi Island is situated in the province of Cabo Delgado, district of Palma. Vamizi is home of a resident community since the Arabic period, with an estimated population of 533 people in 1999 and 1300 in 2011.

 

The mainland close to the island is one of the most remote and poor stretches of coastline in Mozambique, having been isolated during more than 30 years of civil war. It is also distant from the strategic centers of economic activity, which are located in the south of the country. Recently the 3rd largest reserves of natural gas in the world were discovered 58km from Vamizi and development is underway.

In 2006, a community sanctuary (LMMA) was created around the eastern side of the island,

extending 3km into the sea, with an area of about 10,000ha. This LMMA was created by the Vamizi CCP with the support of the lodge and is patrolled and managed by the CCP on behalf of the local community. The LMMA was created with the goal of designing an area where different marine species had the chance to fully complete their life cycles, guaranteeing the health of the ecosystem itself. The reefs around Vamizi are amongst the healthiest and most biodiverse in the Western Indian Ocean.

 

Studies highlight the importance of this LMMA, by demonstrating how the LMMA has not only benefited the area inside it, but also the adjacent areas. Research shows that the number of species and individual fishes found there has increased, and so has the size and quantity of fish caught locally.

 

The construction of the lodge started in 1998 and established tourism and conservation activities on the island. There has been a permanent research presence on Vamizi Island since 2006, when a turtle monitoring and research project was first established. Over the years, conservation activities have expanded through successful partnerships with leading marine experts from WCS, ZSL, CORDIO, WWF, and IUCN bringing expertise and providing access to an international network of conservation experts and partners.

The main support of Vamizi since 2008 has been UniLurio, a new state university, specializing in science and engineering based in the North of Mozambique. The Faculty of Natural Sciences gives support to the conservation and the communities providing a continuity that is lacking in the NGO’s projects.

Contributed by

Isabel Marques da Silva