Applying the Ecosystem Approach to Fisheries (EAF) to empower fisheries communities in Mozambique

Posted on
11 September 2021
Maputo Province – Representatives from the Ministry of Sea, Inland Waters and Fisheries (MIMAIP), the Ministry of Land of Environment (MTA),   related government agencies at provincial and district level, University Eduardo Mondlane and the NGOs WWF and RARE participated in a five-day training on “Applying Ecosystem approach for Fisheries (EAF) in the establishment of community managed fishing areas and the development of local artisanal fisheries management plans in Mozambique”. The training was hosted by the National Fisheries Administration (ADNAP) and jointly organized by MIMAIP and MTA with the support of FAO and WWF, as part of two initiatives to support sustainable coastal fisheries and environment in Mozambique: the Partnership Project between the Southwest Indian Ocean Fisheries Commission and the Nairobi Convention (SWIOFC-NC PP) funded by the Sweden and the project “Implementation of co-management initiatives at the local level in the Districts of Pebane (Zambézia Province) and Moma (Nampula Province)”, funded by ProAzul, under the World Bank SWIOFish1 Mz Project.
Empowering local communities to participate in and influence the sustainable management of marine and coastal resources has been at the heart of recent reforms to national fisheries and conservation policy and legislation in Mozambique. The main innovation of the current policy framework is the establishment of Community Conservation Areas and Community Managed Fishing Areas,  which can include introduction of measures such as no take zones and development of Management Plans for Artisanal Fisheries. Embedded in the policy and legal framework is also the Ecosystem Approach, to help communities manage their fisheries in a holistic way that recognizes linkages between different parts of the ecosystem and promotes collaboration across sectors and groups to secure long-term sustainable and equitable use of coastal and marine resources.

The Ecosystem Approach to Fisheries was adopted by countries from around world at the turn of the millennium and has since been promoted by the FAO and other leading ocean advocates around the globe as the way forward to achieve sustainable development and management of fisheries within the framework of the Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries (CCRF). EAF will be a crucial tool for those working to realize the ambitions of Mozambique’s new fisheries legislation in practice, and the training provided the opportunity for participants to gain valuable lessons on how it can be used in the context of establishing community managed fishing areas and developing local artisanal fisheries management plans.

In his introductory speech, the Deputy National Director of the National Fisheries Administration (ADNAP), Mr. Cassamo Hassane Júnior, welcomed the participation of so many of the key actors working with coastal communities, highlighting that their shared knowledge and awareness of EAF will help them implement the approach together.

The workshop provided opportunities for practical exercises on how to go through the different stages of the EAF cycle (planning, identification of issues and risk assessment, management system and Monitoring and Evaluation) in the context of managing artisanal fisheries and Marine Protected Areas (MPA). The participants shared experiences from the development of artisanal management plan for Pebane (In Zambézia province), Moma (in Nampula Province) and Maputo Bay area (Ponta do Ouro and Maputo Especial Reserve MPA) and examined how the EAF tools could be applied in these cases.

As a result of the training, participants have acquired skills to operationalize the EAF tools and identified the key challenges faced in the development of the management plans for artisanal fisheries in the selected case studies so that these can be addressed (e.g. clear road map, including participatory consultations and feedback to the communities and local authorities on the last version of the management plan). Participants especially appreciated the opportunity to share lessons learnt from the different perspectives of fisheries and environment, central and local, government, academia and NGOs.

Some of key recommendations emerging from the workshop was the importance of managers  applying key EAF principles that also resonate with the globally adopted Voluntary Guidelines for Small Scale Fisheries. Participation, evidence-based decision making, local knowledge, decentralization and gender considerations were highlighted as crucial when working with local fishing communities to establish and implement co-management. In order to operationalize and apply the skills acquired in the training, participants requested that EAF Toolkits and handbooks adapted to the Mozambique context should be developed to use as manuals for replicating the training with local communities and Community Based Organizations.

Hebenizário Bachita, Head of ADNAP Delegation in Gaza province confirmed that  “the knowledge acquired during the training workshop will allow improvements in our performance in future work with communities and fishers, especially through the involvement of all the relevant stakeholders”.

Participants from MIMAIP/ADNAP and MTA will start testing their new skills together as they embark on a collaboration to improve fisheries and costal environments in Maputo Bay and the Limpopo River as part of the SWIOFC NC PP project. Experiences from their collaboration will provide lessons for the Western Indian Ocean region on the practical application of an ecosystem approach in supporting sustainable livelihoods for coastal communities. 


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