The president commended the local government authorities and communities for working successfully with WWF as he presented fishing equipment donated by the Japanese Social Development Fund, worth over US $73,600 including outboard engines, deep freezers and cool boxes to 26 fishing groups in Kilwa and Mafia Island.
The WWF office in Tanzania (WWF-TPO) has created a Seascape Programme across three district coastlines covering 9,000 square kilometres where over 140,000 people live.
The three districts, Rufiji, Mafia Island and Kilwa RUMAKI are rich in marine biodiversity; coral reefs, fish, invertebrates, seagrass, marine mammals and water birds.
Important WWF aims in the region are to protect threatened habitats and endangered species, improve people's access to micro-credit schemes to support their businesses and to help people understand collaborative resource management.
Village community banks
WWF has assisted in the creation of 63 community saving and credit groups called Village Community Banks (VICOBAs) which by August 2007 had a capital of US $207,576. Members receive loans to support their small businesses and to help with school fees and medical care.
Acquaculture and jewels
WWF is also involved in small-scale acquaculture trials. By December 2007, over 200 villagers were establishing their own milkfish ponds and crab fattening cages following training.
WWF is promoting sustainable acquaculture to overcome the shortages of fish stocks.
A total of 13 milkfish ponds have been constructed and stocked with over 60,000 fingerlings with a probable harvest of 80 000 kg worth nearly US $100,000.
An experimental culture of oysters for pearl production has also been conducted on Mafia Island, so far producing and selling pearl jewellery worth over US $4,000.
Marine riches, economic hopes
The RUMAKI area is one of the key global seascape sites in the Eastern African Marine Ecoregion (EAME) spanning from Somalia to South Africa.
The seascape concept mirrors the terrestrial landscape approach in conservation best-practice: recognizing the need to look beyond establishing just protected areas and instead developing wider geographic, social and economic strategies.
The RUMAKI project focuses on the need to improve the socio-economic wellbeing of the coastal communities through equitable use and protection of habitats.
WWF TPO has also implemented freshwater, forest and wildlife projects in the country.
By donating to WWF today, you can help us continue to fund such vital conservation work across the world.