Mtwara District

June 2012

Conservation benefit: Establishment of a 3,459-acre community marine conservation area for 10 years

Community benefit: Education and awareness program, construction of a community resource center and support for alternative livelihood options

The Mnazi Bay Ruvuma Estuary (MBREMP), in the Mtwara district of southeast Tanzania, covers a total area of 650 square kilometers (251 square miles). Inside its boundaries are 17 villages, with a total population of 45,000. The waters around the islands are renowned for their rich diversity, including 42 coral genera and 369 species of fish. Extensive stands of mangroves cover the shorelines of the islands. A large population of crab plovers has led to the area’s designation as an important bird habitat. Fishing, coral mining, and other extractive activities are permitted within the reserve, putting significant pressures on its biological resources.

The five villages of Mkubiru, Mnete, Nalingu, Ruvula, and Sinde wish to protect marine and terrestrial endangered species found on the islands of Namponda, Membelwa, and Kisiwa Kidogo. To do this, they will create a 1,400-hectare (3,459-acre) community marine conservation area around the three islands. This will protect mangroves and all five species of sea turtles, and let degraded coral reefs recover. The project is being implemented by KIMWAM, an umbrella organization for small-scale fishers. In return, Seacology is funding the construction of a community resource and education center at Ruvula Village, mangrove restoration, alternative livelihood options (beekeeping and seaweed farming), and organizational activities.

Full or partial funding for this project provided by
Project Updates
January 2016
In March 2015, we learned that the Seacology-funded building had not been completed due to insufficient funds, due in part to currency fluctuations. Seacology released additional funds to complete...
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June 2013
Construction has commenced, as has developing the management plan for the islands; the first draft will be available in the end of May 2013. The project experienced a few challenges before...
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February 2013
A number of village awareness meetings have been held in Mkubiru, Mnete, Nalingu, Ruvula and Sinde communities. Project awareness materials such as brochures have also been produced and...
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