Oceans Without Borders (OWB) is our marine conservation conservation initiative founded in collaboration with Africa Foundation.
Through this dedicated programme that spans &Beyond‘s marine footprint, we are able to influence over 3 000 km (1 864 mi.) of Africa’s Indian Ocean coastline stretching from South Africa’s Sodwana Bay region up to Pemba Island, Zanzibar.
OWB has stimulated the marine application of our proven impact model to include care of the ocean, marine wildlife and coastal communities, with extraordinary guest experiences as always a core focus.
Oceans Without Borders strives to catalyse positive change across our marine footprint to leave our oceans a better place by applying our proven care-trilogy to the ocean, marine wildlife, and coastal communities, never forgetting that our &Beyond guest experience lies at the heart of our vision.
Baseline Monitoring & Research
To facilitate baseline monitoring and world-class research in order to inform decision making and track progress.
Knowledge is critical to making progress in environmental conservation and sustainable development. High-quality, relevant, and timely data are essential for knowledge-creation and for tracking progress, guiding decision making, and providing the basis for accountability.
Without reliable data we cannot know, for example, what the impacts of increasing water temperatures are on coral reefs; how habitat loss affects nesting sea turtles; whether our marine protected areas are achieving their goals; or how the livelihoods of coastal communities are impacted by loss of tourism revenue.
Our monitoring and research programs aim to establish rigorous methodologies, comprehensive baselines and long-term datasets that also contribute to other local, regional and global initiatives. By developing the facilities to support research at each of our sites, we offer the opportunity for international experts to work alongside local academic institutions, communities and other organisations, thereby creating a powerful synergy of education, conservation and research expertise.
Care of the Ocean
To support the improved effectiveness of marine habitat conservation and the establishment or enlargement of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs), seeking higher conservation status.
Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) are the cornerstone of ocean conservation efforts worldwide. They allow for the protection of important sites including critical habitats, important breeding areas for different species and they serve as source areas for surrounding fishing grounds to promote a sustainable fish stock supply.
Habitats such as coral reefs are among the most biologically diverse of all of Earth’s ecosystems and are vital to the health of our oceans. Since our sites also host some of the richest coral reef systems in Africa and the Western Indian Ocean, they are a major focus of our work.
Our marine research and monitoring programmes, including marine habitat mapping, coral diversity studies, apex predator movements, and identification and monitoring of important breeding aggregations, aim to help better manage existing protected areas and identify which areas should be prioritised for better protection.
Care of the Wildlife
Support the protection of identified iconic species.
Protecting marine ecosystems requires understanding the biology, behaviour and habitat needs of iconic and ecologically important species. Charismatic marine megafauna such as whales, turtles and sharks are also vitally important umbrella species for protecting marine habitats and less well recognised marine plants and animals.
Our research and conservation work focuses on a range of marine species in East Africa including projects on coral diversity and reef health, studies of the movements and biology of sharks and giant trevally, and other projects that focus on humpback whales, reef fish, and a range of terrestrial plants and animals that are found at our island sites.
Sea turtles are a particular focus and our efforts include some of the longest, continuously running sea turtle nest monitoring programmes in Africa. Five turtle species occur in the waters of eastern Africa, and each of our sites has an important part to play in the protection of these threatened species:
Mnemba Island is one of the most important nesting sites for green turtles in Tanzania
Vamizi Island is home to the oldest and only on-going turtle monitoring project in northern Mozambique, and is one of few hawksbill turtle nesting sites in the region
Benguerra Island & the Bazaruto Archipelago is one of few places off Africa where all 5 turtle species occur
Care of the People
Through collaboration and coordination with local communities, facilitate community-lead development of sustainable marine resource use practices, and alternative revenue and food sources that reduce marine dependency.
For over 25 years working at the intersection of ecotourism, conservation and community development, support and investment in surrounding communities has been fundamental to the success and long-term sustainability of our projects. Our community partner, Africa Foundation, has played a central role in these projects, and is key to the success of our Oceans Without Borders initiatives.
On the coral-fringed coastlines of East Africa, subsistence fisher communities are the ultimate custodians of these diverse ecosystems. Through our ‘Care of the People’ objective, we endeavour to upskill and empower local communities, working closely with them to ensure shared value for marine conservation endeavours.
Learn more about our contributions to ground-breaking scientific research on the impacts of climate change and overfishing on nutrition and food security, and helping build resilient communities in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic due to the loss of revenue from tourism.
Multiply positive impact on oceans globally through the engagement and education of &Beyond guests and collaboration with international initiatives.
Sharing knowledge through education, public engagement and collaboration is a cornerstone of our work. Our final objective aims to multiply positive impacts through our global reach.
In addition to active social media channels, we contribute to the global ocean conversation at various local and international events. The heart of our guest experience at &Beyond island lodges is our ocean conservation work, and visitors have the option to participate in citizen science projects such as &Beyond‘s ‘Beyond the Sighting’ data capture initiative.
An important component of our ‘Global Reach’ objective also includes outreach and education among our local communities, with numerous school and community marine conservation engagement initiatives such as school field trips to the reef, movie nights, conservation lessons, and other events held at each of our island sites.
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