Strengthening community-based EBM approaches in Subsistence and Small Scale Artisanal Fisheries for Sustainable livelihoods and Management of Pemba Channel Conservation Area (PECCA), Zanzibar, Tanzania.

Type of implementing organization: 
Project(s) linked to: 
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Duration of project: 
Two years.

The terms MPA and MCA in Zanzibar are interchangeable and are used to describe Marine Conservation Areas (MCAs). There are in total six gazetted MCAs in Zanzibar with an approximately total surface area of 2100 km2. These are multiple use marine management areas that are run through "co-management" approaches between the Government and the local communities in terms of sustainable fisheries, conservation of coral reefs and protection of the critical habitats around these systems.


The current Marine Conservation Unit Regulations which form the basis of Marine Conservation Areas in Zanzibar, were established in 2014 under the Zanzibar Fisheries Act No.7 of 2010. All MCAs and privately-managed marine areas in Zanzibar are therefore under the direct jurisdiction of the Department of Fisheries Development which co-manages the entities using the Integrated Coastal Zone Management (ICZM) approach as identified under the Environmental Management Act No.3 of 2015.


Key critical issues related to the survival of these MPAs include healthy coral reefs, seagrasses, remarkable fish species, keystone marine fauna such as the Dolphins, Whales, Dugongs, sea turtles, seabirds and the adjacent mangrove ecosystems. These biodiversity assets make up the natural capital currency that attract more than 500,000 international tourists coming to Zanzibar annually.


Conservation of coastal and marine resources in Zanzibar is administered under the Integrated Coastal Zone Management (ICZM) model that enhances cross-sectoral coordination between Environment, Fisheries, Tourism and Forestry sectors.   The concept is embedded into the implementation of the Aichi objectives and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), in particular SDG 14 on the oceans. Sustainable management of these natural resources therefore has always relied upon positive cross sectoral collaboration, community support and sustainable tourism practices.  Such collaborative and coordination efforts between the Government and the local communities help minimize negative exploitation of these resources and equitably diversify socio-economic means towards sustainable coastal and marine harvesting patterns.


This proposal seeks to address the need for enhanced collaborative ICZM approaches in protecting key critical habitats  that support  artisanal fisheries and seaweed farming in the lagoons surrounding the Pemba Channel Conservation Area (PECCA). Emphasis from this approach extends into and enriches initiatives to conserve fisheries resources inside and around Marine Conservation Areas (MCAs) which are inherently exposed to socio-economic and environmental challenges of environmental degradation and land based forms of pollution.



The island of Pemba, Tanzania, is a remarkable and unique island in the Western Indian Ocean (WIO). It contains high levels of biodiversity, important feeding and breeding areas and migratory routes for endangered marine mammals. The western fringe of the island has a heavily indented coastline with numerous bays, islets and deep braided channels that form the physical basis for its diverse range of marine habitats. The island contains the only oceanic reefs in the Eastern African Marine Ecoregion (EAME) with high diversity and coral growth in excess of 64 meters depth, possibly the deepest seagrass beds in the EAME, and impressive concentrations of sailfish, black marlin and tuna.



The Pemba Channel Conservation Area (PECCA) is a Category VI Marine Protected Area. Established in 2005, PECCA covers an area of 825.8 km2, in a 3.22 km wide band stretching all across the western coast of Pemba Island from north to south parallel to the Pemba Channel. The western margin of PECCA is pelagic, bordering a deep channel which drops sharply to a depth below 1000m separating Pemba Island from the mainland Tanzania.   It supports key fishing grounds, high coral reefs and reef fish diversity.


PECCA is run by the MCU unit of the Department of Fisheries Development (DoFD) and co-managed with the community, with Village Fishing Committees/ Shehia Fishermen’s Committees  (VFCs/SFCs) playing a significant role at ground level.


The key management objectives in the PECCA area include:


  • Conserving biodiversity to retain the conservation importance and value of the area.
  • Maximizing long-term socio-economic benefits from the area over the long term.
  • Improving research and monitoring
  • Increasing public awareness of the conservation importance, economic value and management requirements of the area
  • Promoting ecotourism


The key risks and threats include:


  • Illegal destructive fishing
  • lack of capacity to deal with “co-management”  adequately.
  • Lack of alternative livelihoods to minimize stresses on the MCA.
  • Lack of coordination between the public sectors, private sector and the local communities living along the MCA.
  • Inadequacy in full community participation in matters pertaining to environmental conservation and participatory spatial planning
  • Climate change impacts, sea level rise and coral bleaching ,etc.



SAPPHIRE supports directly or indirectly all key elements above and in the ocean governance, and especially in relations to the policy and practical aspects in the management of coastal and marine environment but with a regional WIO focus. The coastal communities remain among the poorest in Tanzania and SAPPHIRE provides an opportunity to target these vulnerable coastal communities directly through co-management approaches that address their environmental and economic vulnerability.


The SAPPHIRE Demo Project will support the local coastal communities in the PECCA Area benefit from improved fisheries practices and introduction of alternative means of livelihoods (e.g. for income generating activities) along with ecosystem conservation practices for the stated sustainability.


The underlying proposal hypothesis is that sound management of coastal and marine resources, which are critical for sustainable artisanal fisheries, will contribute directly to improved livelihoods and to reduced environmental and social vulnerabilities around the MCAs. Increased local empowerment, through enhancing community management of the critical habitats, will in turn lead to more sustainable use of the resource base through, for example, improved commercial fish stocks, reduced by-catch wastes, and reduction in destructive fishing practices.


The goals of Zanzibar Poverty Reduction and Growth Strategy (MKUZA-III) are related to sustainable conservation and management of  the coastal and marine ecosystems. If coastal erosion and coral reef damages remain unchecked, it will eventually affect environment, tourism, fisheries and Zanzibar’s biodiversity.  Communities have been empowered to set up their natural resources management committees and take part in the decision-making process in environmental and land use planning in their respective areas through Local Government administration.


The Zanzibar Fisheries policy stresses upon supporting artisanal fishermen, their fish landing sites and resources and on helping with micro-credit facilities for artisanal fishermen. It highlights on issues related to environmental conservation of the marine ecosystems such as coral reefs; and calls for an increased education and awareness programs on marine conservation and implementation of the goals of the Integrated Coastal Zone Management (ICZM).