The creation of the largest marine protected area (MPA) in Africa was recently announced by the Government of Mozambique.
About the new reserve:
- made up of ten islands off the northern coast of Mozambique between Nampula and Zambezia Provinces
- located in the Primeiras and Segundas Archipelago
- will cover more than 1,040,926 hectares (4,020 square miles)
- home to five of the only seven sea turtle species
- known breeding grounds for dugong, seabirds and sea turtles
- contains rich coral diversity
For eight years, the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) has worked to protect this area that has been exploited by illegal commercial fishing and unauthorized tourism that is damaging the ecosystem. It is also home to some of the poorest fishing communities in Africa. Over half the population lives in extreme poverty and their livelihood, as well as most of their food supply, depends on the local natural resources.
The creation of the reserve is a result of the Coastal Communities initiative of the CARE-WWF Alliance. The alliance focuses on “the root causes of poverty and environmental degradation” in order to help developing nations achieve better livelihoods and maintain healthier ecosystems.
WWF writes that “the project will protect marine areas, sustainably manage natural resources and benefit and enhance livelihoods of local coastal communities.”
“This declaration by the Government shows they understand and care about the need for conservation of marine resources to support sustainable use by their communities,” said John Tanzer, Director of WWF’s Global Marine Program.
“Protecting the rich natural resources of this magnificent area will make a major contribution to the long term food security and livelihoods of the people of the region. It is also a significant contribution by Mozambique to safeguarding the future of the world’s marine environment more generally and deserves recognition and congratulations to all concerned who worked together to make it possible.”
To learn more:
- Read WWF’s statement about the new reserve
- Check out this page about another protected area in Mozambique’s Bazaruto Archipelago
- What exactly is an archipelago?
Copyright © 2012 by Marine Science Today, a publication of Marine Science Today LLC.