Launching the Tanga-Pemba Seascape Programme to advance the Embassy’s Blue Economy efforts
News19 November 2021
The Embassy has a long history of working on coastal and marine conservation and management. Blue economy has grown to be an important development agenda for both Zanzibar and Tanzania Mainland. It remains vital in ensuring food security, offering sources of livelihoods to coastal communities, and sustain economic growth. However, the sector is faced with a number of challenges including over-fishing, destructive fishing practices, habitat destruction, pollution, ocean acidification, global warming and rises in sea level. These challenges impact biodiversity, fisheries and tourism, and are acutely felt by the coastal communities. Local fisher folks with small fishing boats now have to go further offshore, which endangers their lives.
Ireland as an island with more sea than land area, recognises such importance and challenges, thus, blue economy is a natural fit and a priority. Our policy for International Development – A Better World, has identified sustainable blue economy as a development and climate diplomacy priority. This is also reflected in our Mission’s Strategic Plan.
As part of scaling-up our climate work, the Embassy is supporting International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) with a €400,000 grant for a 12-month pilot project called, “Towards a blue future in Tanga-Pemba seascape”. The project is implemented in collaboration with the Western Indian Ocean Marine Science Association (WIOMSA) and Ocean Hub Africa.
This project was launched last week in Zanzibar during a blue economy symposium that brought together diverse stakeholders working in the sector. Our Ambassador, Mary O’Neill, launched the project with the Principal Secretary of the Zanzibar’s Ministry of Blue Economy and Fisheries; IUCN Regional Director; and community representatives from Pangani and Pemba where the project is implemented. Prior to the launching, stakeholders had the opportunity to engage in a very insightful discussion on the connection between climate change, blue economy and biodiversity; that explored opportunity for improved coastal and marine conservation and governance.
The support to this project is expected to contribute to unlocking the development of sustainable blue economy through improved inclusive coastal conservation, governance and community livelihood in the Tanga-Pemba seascape with particular attention to women. The project will therefore, also contribute to Zanzibar and Tanzania’s blue economy drive.
The project aims to therefore address the challenges and leverage on the available opportunities. This through having a strengthened locally-relevant governance frameworks; increased knowledge and awareness among key stakeholders; improved livelihoods and socio-economic status with focus to women; and enhanced advocacy in conservation of coastal and marine resources and ecosystem services in the Tanga-Pemba seascape.
This project will be in addition to the regional initiative that the Embassy supports, the Fisheries Transparency Initiative (FiTI), the Secretariat of which is based in Seychelles. This initiative contributes to increased transparency and multi-stakeholder collaboration in fisheries management.
Both projects present an opportunity for regional learning through research and fostering blue economy partnerships along the Western Indian Ocean.