Restricting user-access to small marine areas can have a big impact on increasing fish numbers outside the restricted area. But where are the best areas to close, which areas will give the best results. Kwanini scientists mapped the fishing areas used by each community so we can see where the best places are.


[28th July 2017]. At Kwanini we want to make sure that fishing communities who rely on marine resources for their livelihood are not disadvantaged by restricted access to marine protected areas. We approached the Department of Fisheries to help identify the communities who rely in some way on the marine resources in the north west of Pemba. A big Kwanini thanks to Mr Sharrif helped us design a questionnaire and set up interviews with Fishermen’s Committees in 12 communities where we hoped to find answers to the important questions of where do you fish? What do you fish? How do you fish?

Each interview lasted about 2 hours and we interviewed between 12 and 15 representatives of the village. We tired too get the women involved as they have an important part to play in gathering shells from the seashore to supplement protein in the family diet and they also take an active part in seaweed farming. The fishermen were really helpful and provided honest answers to our questions – they loved seeing their fishing areas on Google Earth and were happy to point out where they carried out their fishing activities. Again, thanks to Mr Sharrif for his amazing translation and to Haji B from the Manta Resort who accompanied our scientists on all the village visits. We all learned a huge amount which we hope to put to good use in the future. We also made some nice friends amongst the communities!


Our plan is to map the resource data collected from each village and prepare a ‘village map’ which we will take back to the community and agree the boundaries. The maps will then be put together to show were the village maps overlap, it will show areas of conflict but also areas of opportunity. We hope to combine this data with our own marine resource mapping compiled from in-water surveys so that we can identify the critical areas for conservation and fisheries protection.

It will take some time to put this big picture together and agree it with all the stakeholders – watch this space for progress!