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Tropical beach landscape

WWF RUMAKI

A WWF programme to challenge unsustainable fishing practices in East Africa.

RUMAKI

The three districts of Rufiji, Mafia Island and Kilwa (RUMAKI seascape) in Tanzania, East Africa are home to over 150,000 people. The population is expected to increase to over 250,000 by 2030, further increasing the strain on the area’s natural resources.

For many years, WWF have been working to help create a more sustainable future for the fishing communities that live along this coastline, helping provide the incentives for local people to look after their own environment and the wildlife within it. Now, with funding from our Forever Fish campaign, WWF can expand the successful work carried out to date to new villages within the seascape.

Some of the best coral reefs and seagrass beds in Tanzania are found in the RUMAKI seascape as well as the largest continuous mangrove area in East Africa. Coral reefs, seagrass and mangroves are vitally important for breeding and providing a haven for a wide variety of fish and other marine life. The area is also home to a range of endangered species, including five species of marine turtle, the dugong, whalesharks, the humphead wrasse, coelacanth, and seahorses.

WWF’s programme is successfully challenging unsustainable fishing practices, the degradation of precious coral reefs, seagrass and mangroves, which threaten the livelihoods of tens of thousands of local people who depend heavily on fishing in this region of Tanzania. WWF have helped fishing communities in RUMAKI seascape to better manage their own fish stocks – and put a stop to unsustainable fishing practices such as dynamite fishing. Given the fragile nature and pressure on local fisheries, the programme has also kick-started a number of small-scale business initiatives, establishing saving and loan structures and giving people alternative livelihood options.

“The project is really making a difference for the vulnerable communities and environment of this region,” explains David Tanner, WWF-UK’s Programme Manager for Coastal East Africa “Extraordinary local wildlife like the highly threatened dugong can only thrive if we keep building on this success.”

Improved management of the marine and fisheries resources by local communities has led to indications of increased fish stocks in some areas, which combined with efforts to diversify local livelihoods have helped increase revenues and the quality of life of thousands of people.

We’re delighted that funding through our Forever Fish campaign will help build on the programme’s success and help expand its activities to new villages within the RUMAKI seascape.