Sustainable fishing benefits more than 1000 people in Bazaruto

A Sustainable Fishing and Mariculture community project was recently launched, in the Bazaruto Archipelago National Park, in the Province of Inhambane, with support from the MozBio project, from the Sustainable Development National Fund (FNDS), valued at 400.000 American Dollars, around 30 million meticals.

The initiative benefits directly 107 people, with 35 women holding the responsibility of managing the revolving credit, processing units and mariculture. Considering the indirect beneficiaries, the number rises to 1.251, with 50% of them being women.

MozBio supports two associations directly, namely the Thomba Yedhu Association, in the island of Bazaruto, and the Kanhi Kwedhy Association, in the island of Benguerra, and the Magaruque Natural Resources Management Committee, which form the the Community-based Organisation (CBO).

“Sustainable Fishing”, with a 2-year duration, includes the acquisition of six engines, the improvement of fishing vessels, fishing supply provision and the capacitation of communities in the production and use of cephalopod traps.

This marine species has a high commercial value and is highly sought by the tourist resorts located in the Bazaruto Archipelago and by the Vilankulo, Inhassoro and Maputo markets.

According to available data, there will also be developed bivalve shellfish production units, like oysters and mussels, as well as fish processing units.

The populations won’t have to worry about placing the products since the market component is assured. For this, agreements with the Inhassoro Fishermen Association, the tourist resorts in the Bazaruto Archipelago and with mainland traders, from both the districts of Vilankulo and Inhassoro, will be celebrated.

To complete the production chain, the construction of small complex, comprised of a fishing supplies’ store, a processing unit with refrigeration and an ice factory, is previewed.

In the particular case of the store, its concession will be awarded to a private operator, through public offer, in a process which will benefit the locals from the districts of Vilakulo and Inhassoro, in a society which will be divided between the APABA, with 60% of the shares and the private (40%).

The referred commercial establishment must offer accessible payment methods for the acaquisition of fishing supplies, either through credit with instalment payments, or in kind, namely fish and other methods that allow easy access to the fishermen.

As for the processing unit, it will be entirely under the responsibility of APABA and will be comprised of a fish products processing room, which will have a refrigerated container attached, powered by solar panels. In here, the fishermen can store their products. There will also be a drying room.

To ensure sustainability, this unit must charge a 10% commission over the value of the commercialized fish.

Why the sustainable fishing project?

Bazaruto has a population of 5.045 people, of which 80% lives from extractive fishing, with the trawl net as their main fishing gear, representing 98%, according to the 2012 census.

According to fishing sector experts, the use of this fishing gear causes damages to the ecosystems and increases pressure over the resources, mainly with the use of small mesh sizes (35 millimetres) or mosquito nets, including the growth of the population itself.

Other problems identified in the field are the fishing communities’ low income rates, thanks to the tendency of production reduction in extractive fishing and post-capture losses for lack of adequate conditions for conservation of fish.

The sustainable fishing and mariculture project under implementation arises from the need to ease the pressure of the populations over the natural resources, ensuring means of sustainability and improving the the income of the communities in the buffer zone, supporting the fishermen by improving their vessels’ capacity as a means of allowing them to fish outside the limits of the Bazaruto Archipelago National Park, resorting to selected gear.

One of them is fishing by line, in which when the correct fishhook number and size are employed, it allows to capture high commercial value species, in environmentally sustainable sizes.

The Mozambican marine line management plan recommends, for artisanal fishing, the licensing of a limit of 3.386 fishing gears in the southern zone of the Sofala bank.

Data from the 2012 census indicated that in the Provinces of Maputo, Gaza and Inhambane, there are 2.021 hand fishing gears, which leaves a considerate margin for promotion of this kind of fishing practices.