The Pemba Channel in Tanzania is home to key sea turtle nesting sites, numerous endangered species including sea turtles, dolphins, and sharks, and some of East Africa’s most diverse coral reefs. It’s home to IUCN red-listed species, including four species of sea turtles, Indian Ocean humpback dolphins, humphead wrasse, bumphead parrotfish, and blacktip reef sharks.
Home to Some of East Africa’s Most Diverse Coral Reefs
This area holds immense cultural and economic importance for thousands who depend on healthy fisheries and coastal tourism for survival, including 400,000 people living on Pemba Island and 18,000 fishers that depend on fishing as their livelihood. Unfortunately, rampant illegal fishing seriously threatens the health of fish populations and other endangered marine species.
Since 2019, WildAid Marine has partnered with Mwambao Coastal Community Network and Marine and Coastal Community Conservation Zanzibar, a network of communities that manage their coastal resources, to strengthen enforcement in the region and protect Pemba’s marine life.
Tanzania: The Challenge
The Pemba Channel Conservation Area (PECCA) is one of the largest protected areas in the region. Its size, approximately 1,200 km2, is one of its greatest assets, but makes it difficult for Pemba’s fishery officers and Shehia Fisher Committees (SFCs) to protect given their limited resources. When WildAid Marine partnered with Marine and Coastal Community Conservation Zanzibar in 2019, the local Mkoani Fisheries Department and the SFC rangers had no boats, meaning they could only patrol the coast on foot. They could oftentimes view the threats to their marine life taking place but they were unable to respond. Achieving effective marine surveillance and management is essential not only for the survival of marine wildlife but also for the artisanal fishing sector in Pemba, which grew 15% from 2007 to 2016.
Putting Our Model Into Action
We helped our partners reach the Implementation stage and developed a comprehensive Marine Protection System plan for Pemba Channel Conservation Area in 2019.
We donated two patrol boats: one to the Mkoani Fisheries Department and the other to Marine and Coastal Community Conservation Zanzibar to enable rangers to patrol their waters – something previously done on foot — and provided them with surveillance equipment to better detect illegal fishing activity.
During COVID, WildAid was unable to travel to Tanzania. That didn’t stop our team. We held a virtual ‘Train-the-Trainer’ workshop in 2020, that taught in-country partners how to deliver our training courses themselves. The following year, our partners led the 3rd enforcement training course for new community rangers using the curriculum and training materials from the train-the-trainer course.
We helped secure additional funding via the USAID Tanzania Protect project for enforcement operations and systems.
We outlined an island-wide outreach campaign targeting the elimination of beach seines in 2020.
Our MPS plan aims to address the problems that beach seines pose to the coastal environment by focusing on the eradication of this destructive fishing gear and a crackdown on their use in cooperation with pertinent authorities.
patrol boats donated by WildAid Marine in 2020 to help community rangers protect their waters.
Marine Protection System Plan developed for Pemba Channel Conservation Area.
fishermen interviewed by SFC rangers in 2022.