Creating a Bye-law for the Kwanini MPA

The fishermen understand the importance of protecting the marine environment and have asked the Kwanini Foundation to help them to do it! The Kwanini MPA has been a voluntary protected area for four years and now we want to make it official by creating a bye-law to protect the marine life around the Manta Resort.


The Kwanini marine protected areas has been operating as a voluntary reserve for the last 4 years and has proved to be an excellent demonstration site for engaging with the local communities and showing the benefits that marine protected areas can provide in terms of food security from the sea.

But is a voluntary agreement enough? How does the surveillance and monitoring work? Who has authority over the area? And what is to stop someone breaking the voluntary agreement?

It takes a lot of effort to set up a marine protected area, you need to establish boundaries, identify the stakeholders, hold discussions with the interested parties, reach agreement on use and mark the area off. Then you ned to set up surveillance and monitoring and have good connections with the local regulators to make sure that there is effective enforcement. Arguably most important, is to have sustainable financing to make sure that the system can operate effectively on a daily basis.

In March of 2017 we held some preliminary meetings with the Fishermen’s Executive Committee and we were delighted when they asked for our help to prepare a bye-law to manage the marine resources under their jurisdiction. We set up some meetings with the fishermen in Kukuu who are working with the local non-governmental organisation, Mwambao, to set up an octopus closure area. The exchange visit went well, and the fishermen prepared their own version of the bye-law. We held another big meeting in October and discovered that the fishermen wanted not just an octopus closure zone but something much more ambitious!

They want to bring a whole section of coastline, including the reef zone, under management and be able to establish ‘no take zones’ in areas of critical significance for reefs and fisheries. As far as we know this has not been attempted before in Pemba and so it is important to get the wording of the bye-law right.

We have a second draft of the bye-law prepared and translated and are in the next round of consultations. Keep an eye open on the website for more information – we will publish the bye-law in our documents section when it has been through the full consultation process and is agreed by all parties.

Once established, the bye-law will allow us to help the fishermen manage the marine resources effectively and more sustainably.