With an increasing number of factors affecting the health of the world’s marine resources, and experts predicting the collapse of global fisheries by 2048, &Beyond is expanding its focus on wildlife conservation to include the protection and sustainability of our seas with Oceans Without Borders – a call to preserving our marine ecosystems.
Building on the positive influence it extends over more than 9 million acres of protected wildlife land, &Beyond has recently increased its portfolio of exclusive island lodges to now encompass, &Beyond Mnemba Island, off the coast of Zanzibar, &Beyond Benguerra Island, in Mozambique’s Bazaruto Archipelago and &Beyond Vamizi Island in the Quirimbas Archipelago. All of these incredible destinations boast a strong conservation focus. These islands cover approximately 3000 km including Isimangaliso Wetland Park where &Beyond Phinda Private Game Reserve is located.
The current landscape
- Coral reefs and marine wildlife worldwide are facing unprecedented threats from local and international pressures and global climate change.
- According to WWF, more than 20 million people live along the coastal shoreline, with this number expected to double before 2030. Natural resources such the ocean, forests and reefs and rivers contribute to their food security.
- Rapidly rising concentrations of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gasses in the atmosphere are driving ocean temperatures up and causing increasingly frequent and severe coral bleaching events around the world.
- Reefs that are bleached eventually die, causing massive global impact. According to various scientific sources, we experienced the longest global coral bleaching from 2014 to 2017. It is estimated that approximately 30% of global reefs were bleached and 35% of the Great Barrier Reef was bleached.
- If we don’t act now, we may face a world without coral reefs, and the multitude of species they support, by 2050.
Why Oceans Without Borders?
With the above factors affecting the health of the world’s marine resources, and experts predicting the collapse of global fisheries by 2048; &Beyond, in partnership with Africa Foundation, is expanding its focus on wildlife conservation to include the protection and sustainability of our seas with Oceans Without Borders (OWB) – a call to preserving our marine eco-systems. Thanks to the success of &Beyond’s Impact Model of Care of the Land, Wildlife & People, over the 9million acres of wildlife conservation area that we influence. Additionally, we have the ability to influence an approximate 3000km of coast line, through the marine activities at &Beyond Phinda Private Game Reserve and the three islands in our portfolio, which we have decided to implement a similar model for marine conservation.
&Beyond has engaged with the local fishing communities living near each of our island lodges in the belief that it essential for us to understand these people, whose livelihoods are largely dependent on the ocean.
Create marine based conservation initiatives that include direct social and economic benefits to local communities, while securing and improving the ecological status of the three islands and marine conservation areas close to &Beyond Phinda, in Sodwana Bay. Additionally, the ambitious aim is to also establish dynamic models in marine conservation that can be exported to other areas under similar threat.
- Objective 1: Logistical support and enlarging of current marine protected areas (MPA’s)
- Objective 2: Upgrading current MPA’s to Marine Reserves, which have a higher conservation status
- Objective 3: Facilitating and developing sustainable community benefits from the marine environment, and developing alternative revenue sources that are not marine dependent
- Objective 4: Supporting current conservation and research initiatives and establishing new projects
- Objective 5: Use ‘flag-ship’ conservation projects to showcase Oceans Without Borders and the plight of marine ecosystems to the world
- Objective 6: Engaging and educating &Beyond guests about marine conservation and the impact they can have by altering their consumption behaviors and influencing their networks to do the same.
Africa Foundation is &Beyond’s preferred community development partner. It is an independent, non-profit organisation that works with rural communities, living in or close to conservation areas, to facilitate their development and thereby generate community support for the conservation efforts in that region.
Focus areas and impact
&Beyond has always believed that the land/oceans, the people, and the wildlife, are inextricably intertwined. Just as ecotourism and the conservation of resources are vital for the future and prosperity of their people, so the support of those people is critical to protecting threatened ecosystems, endangered species, and the precious biodiversity of the land and the oceans. Our conservation projects on land have been successful because they have involved the people who live near the conservation areas, giving them a stake in the preservation of these resources.
Ironically, the very communities that rely the most closely on marine resources often pose the biggest threat to those very same resources. For this reason, at all three of our island lodges, our most immediate focus will be on reducing the local communities’ dependence on the ocean and giving them a stake in the preservation of the marine world.
- Education: This is a strong focus at &Beyond’s three islands and Phinda Private Game Reserve, with local communities taught how to ensure the survival of fish resources in the surrounding reefs
- We are currently piloting a marine conservation education program at &Beyond Mnemba Island, to roll out to &Beyond’s Vamizi and Benguerra Islands
- Working with our community development partners, Africa Foundation and Friends of Vamizi Trust, &Beyond focuses on small business development as an alternative source of income to fishing.
- Current projects include facilitating sales of baskets woven by women in the communities on &Beyond Vamizi Island to guests
Monitoring and research
Even in areas where marine resources are currently protected, monitoring and research is crucial to set a baseline, which can be referenced over time to identify any potential threats in order to understand their impact. This then allows steps to be taken to minimise this impact and mitigate the threats.
While each lodge and their applicable partners will run their own initiatives, a coordinated project will consolidate findings. Although research is performed at each destination, no comparisons have previously been undertaken.
Key monitoring projects:
- Coral reefs are a vital indicator of the health of the earth’s oceans and are increasingly threatened around the world.
- Coral bleaching, due to increasing ocean temperatures, is causing extensive damage to coral reefs globally.
- &Beyond Vamizi Island is a unique site that has both high coral diversity, and high resilience to coral bleaching, due to upwelling of cool water from the depths of the adjacent Mozambique channel. It is therefore an important source reef, providing larvae to replenish reefs to the north and south.
- Currently, monitoring networks on all three islands are being established to improve our understanding of their diversity and to detect signs of coral bleaching.
- Fish tagging and monitoring projects are being developed to monitor diversity, identify key source reef areas and demonstrate the benefit of community conservation areas.
- We are investigating the best means of monitoring whale migration routes at all three islands. As conditions differ vastly between the three destinations, the effectiveness of using whale sonar equipment at each island, to identify whale pods by sound, is being evaluated.
- Through partnering with leading cetacean research teams, and harnessing new developments in drone technology, we will be able to assess whale population size and individual health.
- We are also looking into using hydrophones to record whale songs to identify the movements of individuals.
- At the lodges where whales are frequently spotted, we can involve our guests in using photo identification to help track their movements.
Turtle nesting is currently monitored at &Beyond’s Vamizi and Mnemba Islands.
- &Beyond Vamizi Island is home to the oldest and only ongoing turtle monitoring project in northern Mozambique, which is managed by one of the longest-standing turtle monitoring programmes in East Africa. A dedicated team of Conservation Monitors records data and tags the turtles with a unique number that allows their movements to be tracked.
- &Beyond Mnemba Island is the only protected nesting site for the endangered green turtle in Zanzibar, and one of few in the whole of Tanzania. &Beyond staff monitor turtle nests, protecting the eggs, hatchlings and the mother, and share their data with research organisations, as well as the government of Zanzibar.
- &Beyond Benguerra is one of few locations where all five turtle species are known to breed.
The protection of endangered species
With climate change, pollution and habitat loss all putting an increased strain on the world’s marine species, &Beyond believes that it is now more important than ever to protect the marine life in the oceans that lie off our island lodges.
Key species projects:
Grey reef sharks
- &Beyond Vamizi Island is home to one of the very few aggregations of grey reef sharks on the east coast of Africa.
- All the sharks seen on the site are mature females and it is likely that this is an important breeding area for grey reef sharks.
- The site is also a nursery for young grey reef shark pups.
- The team at Vamizi is tagging the sharks and recording their movements to research this phenomenon.
- &Beyond Mnemba Island is home to the Ader’s duiker, the rarest antelope species in Africa.
- The numbers of the antelope have more than quadrupled since the introduction of five duiker to Mnemba in 2005, with an estimated 35 duiker currently living on the island.
- &Beyond is collecting data to improve the breeding programme and to work out the best population size to ensure the long-term survival of the duiker and the health of the island.
- A breeding project for these endangered antelope is run at &Beyond Mnemba Island.
- More than 300 have since been translocated from Mnemba to create new or boost existing populations in other parks.
- The number of suni has been carefully monitored and reduced by means of translocation to ensure that it does not impact on the Ader’s duiker breeding project
- &Beyond Benguerra Island is home to the only population of the endangered dugong along the east coast of Africa; an estimated 250 animals.
- Law enforcement and research on the island is managed by ANAC, the National Parks authority.
- Fishing nets and community fishing pose the single greatest threat to the dugong. Oceans Without Borders strategy to counter this is to work with local communities on establishing alternative sources of food and livelihoods other than fishing, thereby reducing the use of the nets.
- We are working with local communities and the Africa Foundation on identifying the needs of the community and creating solutions. Vegetable gardens are already being created to solve some of these issues and we are looking at finding alternative protein sources for the local people.
- &Beyond’s Mnemba and Vamizi Islands are home to small but stable population of these largest of land crabs.
- Very little is known about coconut crabs and Vamizi Island was home to the first study on them to be conducted in Africa.
Journey with us
Just by travelling with &Beyond, our guests make a meaningful difference to the land/oceans, wildlife and people of the areas we operate in. We invite you to travel with heart and embark on an unforgettable journey with us in Africa, Asia, and South America’s iconic destinations.
Telephone: +27 11 809 4300
Guests can participate in experiences such as:
- Turtle nesting and hatching adventures on &Beyond Vamizi Island and &Beyond Mnemba Island; participative wildlife conservation activities at &Beyond Phinda Private Game Reserve; guided research experiences with conservationists on both Impact Journeys
- Tours of neighbouring communities, their schools and healthcare facilities
- Various guided cultural experiences that allow guests to interact with the engaging cultures of Africa.
Should you wish to make a donation towards Oceans Without Borders or any one of our community initiatives, you can securely do so through Africa Foundation.
Donate to our registered NPO in South Africa: Africa Foundation
Secure online donation via givengain: https://www.givengain.com/cc/oceanswithoutborders/
Account Name: Africa Foundation
Account No.: 1469 047 268
Branch: Business North Rand, 12 Fredman Drive, Sandown, 2196
Branch Code: 146905
Reference: OceansWithoutBorders or OWB
Donate via our 501 c registered charity in USA: Africa Foundation (USA)
Secure online donation via: http://www.africafoundation.org/donate/
Bank: Northern Trust Company – ABA#071 000 152
Credit Account: 518 606 1000
For further Credit
Swift Code: CNORUS44
Address: P.O. Box 233, Friday Harbor, WA 98250
Donate via our UK registered charity: The Africa Foundation
Secure online donation via Justgiving: https://www.justgiving.com/africafoundation
Branch: Covent Garden
Sort Code: 40-04-09
Account No.: 61529110
Account Name: Africa Foundation
Address: 16 King Street, Covent Garden, London
When making a donation please ensure that you reference OceansWithoutBorders or OWB and your surname.
To receive acknowledgment of your donation and updates on its impact please email us on: firstname.lastname@example.org