Surveying the damaged reef
The reefs adjacent to Mnemba and northern Unguja islands annually contribute an estimated $1 million to the local economy via ecotourism, yet pressure on the 12 ha Mnemba House Reef (MHR), has led to its rapid degradation with coral cover down to 5%. This reduces habitat for marine species, protection against the effects of climate change, threatens the value of the area for tourism and risks food security for coastal communities. The project will work with two coastal communities to protect and restore the MHR and construct an additional community-owned artificial reef structure. This will diversify the destinations for fishers, divers and snorkelers, and the development of a web platform to log marine fauna sightings will encourage use of the new reef. Educational workshops for community fishers, boat tour guides and school children will create local custodians, reduce destructive fishing practices, and support sustainable fishing and ecotourism practices. The new reef site will reduce pressure on the degraded reefs, allowing them to recover and increasing biodiversity, supporting reef fisheries.