Figure 1: SFC Capacity Assessment

“We have good hope for the future thanks to the lessons we have learnt… We are now ready to support and guide our community towards better management of marine resources for their benefits”, states the fisher committee secretary of Michamvi in Zanzibar.

More than 68% of Zanzibar’s coastal communities depend on small-scale fishing – directly or indirectly- for their daily sustenance. Destruction of marine ecosystems, caused by intensive illegal fishing practices, hinders the socio-economic aspects of most coastal communities in Tanzania, especially in Zanzibar.

The small-scale fishers believe that inshore fisheries are depleted and cannot provide sufficient output for people’s lives. They would like to go offshore but cannot afford it due to limited fishing equipment and knowledge. The weak capacity of Shehia Fisheries Committees (SFCs) has been identified as a major reason for the poor involvement of the community. The support from the European Union grant under the ECOFISH Program helps to implement “Octopus Closures to sustainable marine resource management planning”.

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Figure 2: séance de formation

This initiative intends to promote equitable and sustainable marine resources management in small-scale fishing communities in northern Tanzania and Zanzibar. Building on current experiences, their main objective is to expand existing successful pilot interventions and improve the capacity for implementation of Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO) small scale fishery guidelines (VGSSF).

After fruitful consultation and agreement between Mwambao Coastal Community Network and the Tanzania government, as well as the reformation of some Beach Management Units (BMU) and Shehia Fisher Committees (SFC), capacity assessment and capacity building for 16 communities from Tanga, Pemba and Unguja have been carried out following a baseline household survey.

From this successful beginning, the communities are now starting to support community marine resources, believing that life improvement is on its way, as quoted by Michamvi SFC Secretary after capacity building training. “…We have hope from the lessons we have learnt, and are now ready to support and guide our community towards better management of marine resources for their benefit. The coming of Mwambao and Ecofish show us how serious now is our government and its partners intentions to support local communities. Ending illegal fishing practices is possible and should be the responsibility of us – the community users”.