Building Local Capacity for Community-based Conservation of Threatened Marine Megafauna in the Bazaruto Seascape, Mozambique

Timeframe: 2022 - 2025
Country/Region: Mozambique
Partner: Marine Megafauna Foundation (MMF)

The Bazaruto Archipelago region of Mozambique is one of the last remaining strongholds for dugongs in the Western Indian Ocean and harbours several other emblematic species including mantas and wedgefish. Dugongs are herbivores, relying on seagrass that grows in shallow ocean water for their survival and are threatened by the loss and degradation of seagrass meadows caused by coastal development or industrial activities. Other threats include illegal hunting, collisions with motorboats and most importantly, the accidental entanglement in fishing nets that leads to their suffocation.

Implemented by the Marine Megafauna Foundation (MMF) this project aims to improve the conservation of dugongs, and the seagrass ecosystems they depend on, in the Bazaruto Seascape of Mozambique through the development of sustainable livelihoods and other community-based conservation measures. MMF will focus on key areas for seagrass and dugongs and directly engage coastal communities through a three-pronged approach of community-led conservation, development and piloting of innovative business models and through participatory communications. The introduction of alternative livelihood options for the coastal communities is of particular importance as this will reduce the fishing pressure and in turn the risk of dugong bycatch in the waters of the Bazaruto Seascape.