Projet ZACORES à ZANZIBAR
Let’s protect our oceans together
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RBINS-CEBioS, through the broader “ZACORES” (ZAnzibar COral REStoration) project and the tripartite agreement signed between the partners – Fondation ARTELIA, Linda Bahari (Association) and RBINS-CeBIoS – aims to strengthen the capacity of the “Linda Bahari Pamoja”, or “Let’s protect our oceans together” project in Tanzania, Zanzibar.
Between the endorsement of the Fondation ARTELIA and the final signature of the tripartite agreement between the partners, activities to develop the Association’s coral nursery continued.
The ZACORES project provides the scientific and logistical basis needed (purchasing equipment, learning conservation, techniques, making supports, diving theory, equipment maintenance, data analysis, education and awareness-raising) to support locally led initiatives to ocean awareness raising. The ZACORES activities involved the training of coral growers, as well as building and offshore maintenance of equipment and coral nursed, deployment of new artificial structures and nursing tables and rope nurseries, planting coral of opportunity (COO) on homemade cement disk and initiate transplantation of corals to artificial supports and home reef. The outreach activities, the expansion of the coral nursery and the locally trained staff raised interest of the Institute of Marine Sciences (IMS) of Zanzibar. In March 2023, an IMS delegation met with cofounder of Linda Bahari which led to the full support of Dr. Ali Makame USSI with official registration as conservation project. Further support to the Association through the IMS will be the issuing a notice to the Mbuyu Tende district “Shehas” to raise awareness about the site and require fishermen to avoid dragging nets, seine, and other destructive gears use in the Linda bahari area. This is a major accomplishment after only 2 years of revitalization of the activities post-COVID.
Since October 2022, the Association joined forces with the NGO The Living Ocean and Under the Waves. Funding from the ARTELIA foundation has been the driving force, the key instrument in the collaboration with and the professionalization of these four local divers by the NGO Marine Cultures. There is no other organization that can provide such extensive expertise along the Easter African Coast and our trainees benefited from their science, knowledge, and hospitality thanks to the “Fondation ARTELIA” support. The selection of the four Coral rangers was dictated by their skills, their motivation, their diving abilities (minimum PADI rescue level), their activities related to marine ecosystems and their desire to pass on their knowledge. In terms of scientific development and impact, the Association’s coral nursery – in addition to the pre-existing artificial structures (cars, bike, turtle, pyramids, underwater bathroom, dome, bottles) now counts, thanks to the support of local partners and tourist income, 55 reef stars with 102
transplanted large coral pieces of opportunity and from the nursed corals, 4 rope nurseries (N=243 corals), 11 nursing tables (N=360 corals), and several new prototypes of structures. In March 2023, the reception of coral clips (coral clips®) marked the initiation of coral transplanting for the Association. Those enabled our “Linda baharists” to transplant 55 coral nursed from the table nursery to bare rocks of the home reef. Unfortunately, an outbreak of the Crown-of-thorns starfish (or COT, Acanthaster planci) occurred in early May 2023 and killed 45% of the transplanted corals representing 8 months of work. New corals of opportunity have been collected, planted and are currently nursed. This set a new baseline to monitor coral growth and health which will be reported in the final report.
The report contains a handful testimonies, whereunder Malou Andersen, 31 years old, nurse and PADI instructor, PADI Instructor and co-founder of Linda Bahari Zanzibar, Danish and Zanzibar resident.
The ocean for me has always felt like home, and once submerged underwater you can leave all your worries behind and just be one with the water and view the astonishing underwater world. It is an experience I wish everyone to enjoy! Though having been in Zanzibar since 2013, I have unfortunately witnessed a decline in the general state of the corals and marine life due to many different factors, such as higher water temperatures, increase in tourism which leads to more traffic on the water, and higher demands for fish. As a dive center owner on Zanzibar, I acknowledge that we are also part of the problem and together with Frank Mollel we decided to give back to the community with the Linda Bahari Project. Through training and conservation efforts of local youths in the area, we are hoping to restore the home reef. The vision was for them to also see the added value in the corals reefs, and themselves experience the beauty that they behold, something that many tourist do on a daily basis here. I am a visitor on Zanzibar, but for the youth here it is their home, and it will only be through their investment and engagement in the ocean, we will see the difference. So I am forever grateful to the Artelia foundation, for allowing us to create another option (job) and for people to see, that it is worth investing their time in protecting the oceans and the benefit will be for all in the long run.
Cover picture: Adam Sokolski, Dive Point, Zanzibar