The Endangered Wildlife Trust’s Dugong Emergency Protection Project

Posted on: July 16th, 2013 by Hannah Darrin

By the Endangered Wildlife Trust

In partnership with the Bazaruto Archipelago National Park
Securing core Dugong herds and habitat by mitigating major threats and strengthening existing structures from 2011 to 2020.

Project Rationale:

Acknowledging that East Africa’s single remaining Dugong population is located within and bordering the Bazaruto Archipelago National Park, and noting that this population is under threat from harmful and illegal fishing activities; the Endangered Wildlife Trust entered into a Support Partnership with The National Directorate of Conservation Areas through the implementation of the Dugong Emergency Protection Project. The Partnership was formalised in 2011, and intends to enhance the Bazaruto Archipelago National Park’s law enforcement capabilities where these pertain to illegal fishing and other unlawful and harmful activities that impact on Dugongs and the marine environment.

Dugong foraging on seagrass

Copyright Julien Willem

The Dugong Emergency Protection was designed in 2010 by the Endangered Wildlife Trust (EWT) in response to the most immanent threats identified through the 2009 Maputo International Dugong Conference proceedings and recommendations. The Project seeks to secure core Dugong herds and habitat by mitigating major threats and strengthening existing structures in collaboration with various institutions and Government authorities.

Project Activities:

The Dugong Emergency Protection Project is focussed on implementing the following activities in order to enhance Dugong conservation in the Western Indian Ocean and Mozambique:

i. Facilitate enhanced law enforcement within the Bazaruto Archipelago National Park by identifying resource, training, and capacity requirements, and providing these where necessary and to the best of EWT’s ability.

ii. Develop a marine themed local environmental education curriculum, and host teacher-training workshops to facilitate the effective delivery of lesson plans.

iii. Identify and implement where feasible, a range of sustainable alternative livelihood opportunities for resident fishing communities in order to reduce dependence on marine resources, maintain the BANP as a prime tourism resource for Mozambique, and stimulate the local economy.

iv. Raise the public profile of Dugongs so these become Bazaruto’s flagship species.

v. Securing National and International funds to sustain the Dugong Emergency Protection project and the Bazaruto Archipelago National Park’s Law Enforcement department.

Project Progress:Rigorous Staff Training
 In 2011, the DEPP was selected amongst 500 funding applications as 1 of 15 recipients of a SOS grant, to the value of $90,000. This gained the DEPP and the Bazaruto Archipelago International recognition by the IUCN, World Bank, and the Global Environmental Facility.

 In collaboration with the BANP Administrator, identified resource and equipment needs required to enhance the effectiveness of BANP’s Law Enforcement division.

 Facilitated the development of a revised Law Enforcement Strategy to improve marine patrol coverage and monitoring systems, including the creation of Standard Operational Procedures.

 Provided support/funds/equipment and assistance to the BANP from 2011 until present, to the
value of 3,227,608 MZ

Facilitation of an effective law enforcement strategy including marine patrol route planning, monitoring, and mapping.

GPS training; Head of Law Enforcement- Tomas Manasse assists all Scouts understand the operation of GPS units, and outcomes of marine patrols are demonstrated.

Dugong juvenile and adult seen from the air

Aerial surveillance requires a quick hand and keen eyes. Scouts undergo a practical selection course to determine who is best-suited for the task.

Aerial surveillance and monitoring augments boat-based law enforcement activities. While the pilot and a scout fly, they’re able to cover vast areas of the park in minutes, and spotting illegal activities is effortless. The aircraft is in constant communication with the law enforcement boats, and relays any illegal activities- to which the boats follow-up on immediately.

Over time, this data will allow the Park to create an updated Dugong distribution map showing long-term trends and also identify fishing hot-spots according to tide, moon phase, and possibly season. Accordingly- law enforcement operations can be adjusted.

BANP - Surveying

April & May marine patrol coverage (right) performed 1,377km of marine patrols recording; reacting to 69 infringements, confiscating 1,167 items of illegal harvesting equipment including 2 gill nets, and seizing 358kg of illegally harvested resources. 37% of all fishing boats recorded were conducting illegal activities, and 78% of these boats originate from the mainland.

Revised patrol coverage map indicating each boat’s individual patrol effort during June. Patrol data also allows the Park to map the location of all illegal fishing activities, and determine which areas require follow-up patrol activity or further investigation. Patrol coverage can be measured over the duration of a year, and maps can be produced to display the annual coverage.

Environmental education and awareness; EWT delivers interactive marine-themed lessons at Benguerra Primary school weekly, and has compiled 24 lesson plans into a local curriculum. It is hoped that additional funds can be raised in order to host teacher-training workshops in 2014 that will guide teachers through the simple process of delivering these lessons.

The EWT has identified 2 sustainable alternative livelihood opportunities for the island communities that involve eco-tourism and responsible seafood consumer choices. These will be tested and evaluated between July 2013 and July 2014.

Acknowledgements: 

The EWT would like to acknowledge the Dugong Emergency Protection Project sponsors, and thank the Bazaruto Archipelago National Park for their collaborative efforts to mitigate Dugong mortality in the Greater Bazaruto region.

Contact Information:

Dugong Emergency Protection (Project Executant): Karen AllenParque Nacional do Arquipelago do Bazaruto
Contact: karena@ewt.org.za
Tel: 002711 372 3600
Mobile (South Africa): 002782 728 6564
Mobile (Mozambique): 0025884 202 0704/ 0025884 392 5511.
Web: www.ewt.org.za

Estam os juntos!

See the full report and images here.