OWB Vamizi Mark Ziembicki fish research

Objective 1: Baseline Monitoring and Research

Monitoring and research is crucial to set a baseline in marine conservation

Our monitoring and research projects have a single-point focus: to establish a baseline point of reference for each element of our impact model: ocean (land), wildlife and people. This touch point will enable us to identify and address any needs, respond speedily to potential threats, and to track our progress. This data-led foundation will be set across all 3 islands, as a connected and co-ordinated approach is crucial.

By developing the facilities to support research on all islands, we aim to attract international experts to work alongside local academic institutions, thereby creating a powerful synergy of education, conservation and research expertise.

OUR ACHIEVEMENTS THIS YEAR INCLUDE

Given the importance of this primary, multi-dimensional objective, we have dedicated time over this last year to:

  • Collating a database on the social and ecological dynamics of each island
  • Identifying and meeting with regional and local stakeholders
  • Assessing community needs through consultation, to inform the development of programmes to support sustainable livelihoods
  • Review current coral and marine species monitoring protocols and programmes:
    • Coral monitoring (coral species and bleaching detection)
    • Fish monitoring (underwater visual census of species, abundance and sustainability)
    • Turtle nest monitoring

Vamizi Island

  • Whale monitoring through:
    • collection of sound data from the Vamizi Island migratory humpback whale population as part of the SONGS project which records whale song across the Indian Ocean to map between populations
    • Daily whale monitoring  during whale migration season
  • Fish movement monitoring to assess ‘spill over effect’ of fish stocks from Vamizi marine sanctuary
  • Fisheries monitoring – to record the composition of fish caught in the three communities
  • A team from Franco Meteo installed a weather station on Vamizi Island. This essential infrastructure will enable us to monitor the physical environment to establish benchmarks for future referral:
    • Water nutrient level sampling
    • Beach erosion markers
    • Temperature and rainfall monitors

Mnemba Island

  • In depth surveys were conducted of the coral reefs, fish and urchin abundance off Mnemba
  • Boat pressure was monitored to understand the impact of tourism boats of the reefs
  • Recording fish catch data and lodge seafood purchase to ensure we are supporting sustainable fishing practices

Benguerra Island

Strong engagement with Africa Parks, who recently took over management of the Bazaruto Archipelago, in order to map the way forward for project work on Benguerra Island

Collaborations

We have celebrated the start of some wonderful collaborations this year. In the research sector, one of the most exciting developments is the agreement between Mozambique’s public university, UniLúrio, and &Beyond that will see the construction of a simple research station on Vamizi Island. This will provide invaluable infrastructure to facilitate research, and over time has the potential to become a high level research base.