Oceans 5 is supporting Rare to integrate community-based fisheries reform with effective protection of marine reserves in Mozambique. Half of Mozambicans live along Africa’s fourth largest coastline, and its small-scale fishers catch 85% of the country’s fish, making this sector important for both livelihoods and food security. With 1.4% of the world’s coral reefs and 2% of its mangroves, Mozambique also holds extraordinary biodiversity.
Unfortunately, overfishing and destructive fishing techniques are diminishing fish catches and degrading ecosystems. National data show fish catch landings and overall catch size are declining, with small-scale fishers reporting that certain species no longer show up in their nets. It is estimated that overall artisanal catch has now declined nearly 30% over the last 25 years. Climate change will likely worsen this issue, as Mozambique’s coasts are vulnerable to cyclones, storm surges, and flooding.
Oceans 5 is supporting Rare’s Fish Forever program in 6 communities in Mozambique, reaching 8,000 fishers and 160,000 community members to build and strengthen community-based fisheries management of Mozambique’s coastal waters. Specifically, this approach works to:
• Establish managed access areas that provide fishing communities clear rights to fish in certain areas
• Create networks of fully-protected and community-led no-take marine reserves to replenish and sustain fish populations and protect critical habitat
• Build community engagement and effective management bodies to support local decision-making
• Collect, disseminate and help fishing communities use data for decision-making
• Enact national policy to promote and sustain a community-based management approach to small-scale fisheries
• Enable fishers to adopt more sustainable and better-regulated fishing behaviors (e.g., become a registered fisher; record fish catch; respect fishing regulations; and participate in fisheries management)
• Advance coastal fishing communities’ inclusion in financial and market opportunities to increase household resilience
By the end of 2023, Rare will establish fully protected reserves surrounded by managed access areas that will cover 58,000 hectares of seascape and will have delivered a replicable model for managed access with reserves embedded into the national strategy for coastal zone management, marine protection, and sustainable small-scale fisheries. This project supports the larger Fish Forever program in Mozambique, which reaches a total of 19 communities in 7 districts, reaching nearly 15,000 fishers.