It has now been just over a year since the Kwanini Marine Protected Area (KMPA) fish surveys started. These surveys were a first of their kind in this area as scientific surveys of Pemba’s fish are few and far between. Additionally, the Kwanini Foundation are using a relatively new survey technique known as diver-operated stereo-video. This technique uses two mounted cameras, and the footage has the advantage of providing highly accurate estimates of fish abundance, diversity and body size when compared to conventional fish survey techniques. This method has not been used on Pemba’s reefs before and has limited use throughout East Africa. You can find out more about the survey method in our Fish Surveys Project Page
The fish surveys are being undertaken with the goal of establishing baseline data for fish abundance and diversity within the KMPA, monitoring any improvements or deterioration of fish populations, and providing supplementary data alongside Kwanini’s reef restoration and monitoring programme.
The first surveys were completed at the end of July 2019 with additional surveys completed in October 2019 and January 2020. Unfortunately, due to the COVID-19 pandemic we were unable to undertake the fourth round of surveys in April 2020, however we will resume our normal survey programme as soon as international travel restrictions are lifted.
The fish surveys involve swimming a 50 meter transect along the reef with the stereo-video equipment set up to film all fish in the area. Twenty-eight of these 50 meter transects were completed during each survey period, with the exception of January 2020, when we were only able to complete 26 transects due to unusually poor visibility in the shallower waters. The surveys focus on two areas of the reef at two depth ranges; the KMPA and buffer zones to the north and south of the KMPA. Deep surveys are classed as between 14 and 16 meters and shallow surveys between depths of 6 and 8 meters.