Archive for March, 2009

Journalists flying the environmental flag high.

March 20th, 2009 No comments

FOJO (The Institute for the Further Education of Journalists) in cooperation with WIOMSA recently embarked on a project to promote the coverage of environmental stories in the media in Kenya, Tanzania and Seychelles.  The aim of the project was to train journalists to report environmental stories focusing on coastal management in the Western Indian Ocean region.  16 journalists were selected for the two part training course; the first of which was held from the 3rd-14th of November 2008 in Zanzibar. The 2nd part of the course will be held on the 27th of April – 1st of May 2009

The journalists who attended the course have put what they learnt to very good use; publishing  excellent quality stories on coastal environmental issues!  In recognition of the hard work by these journalists, we are dedicating the next few weeks to show case these great stories in the  “Environment in the Media” category of this blog.

Today’s featured story  is by Lucas Liganga, a seasoned journalist who writes for This Day Newspaper in Tanzania. It is part one of a two part series on dynamite fishing. We hope you enjoy reading it as much as we did.

Categories: Environment in the Media Tags:

Updates from IIP, Mozambique. By Gove Domingos

March 19th, 2009 No comments

IIP is involved in the following activities:

  • A 3 month survey of Mozambican waters with Dr. Fridjof Nansen from October-December 2007.
  • Paula Santana has been  on board the vessel Visconde De Eza from the 11th of March to the 7th of April 2009. The purpose of the cruise is to conduct the third conservative survey of deep water resources from Mozambique waters.
  • A group of South African scientists from SAIAB have teamed up with IIP scientists to carry out sampling of fish and genetic studies on fish from Southern Mozambique (Inhaca Island, Inhambane City and Pomene). The team has been working from the 9th of March and will conclude on the 30th of March 2009. This activity falls within the ACEP II project which is part of the ASCLME project.
  • IIP is organizing a conference on Marine Research Developments in Central Mozambique for September 2009.
  • IIP is setting conditions in CEPAM Pemba  (construction works and installing lab equipment)  for marine aquaculture  capacity building in Mozambique. The first courses on aquaculture are planned the year 2010 and will be open to the whole of the WIO region.
Categories: News, Uncategorized Tags:

Half pearl and pearling in Fumba peninsular, Zanzibar

March 19th, 2009 No comments

When it started as trial alternative income generating activity in 2006, financed by USAID through SUCCESS project, no one could imagine that one day it would grow and attract more people to engage in growing half pearl (Mabe).

Farmed pearls were for the first time harvested in November 2007, generating more than $3000 from selling 29 good pearls. It was the gained profit which opened peoples’ minds and attracted more villagers living in Fumba peninsular and the neighbouring villages to engage in growing oysters for pearl production. In 2006, there was only one site; Bweleo, currently other two sites have been established within the area, one in Unguja Ukuu and the second at Nyamanzi, these farms are owned by a formal group of community members. The Nyamanzi site was used by a MSc student conducting a study on the feasibility of Black lip oysters (Pinctada margaritifera) focusing on spat collection and is now fully operated by the villagers. Unguja Ukuu, is a new site.

Presently, this type of culturing marine bivalve to produce pearls has been replicated in other coastal areas of the country. The number of small individual owned farms has also increased tremendously.

In Unguja, the market for pearls is quite substantial, the island receives hundreds of thousands tourists a year. Villagers sell their products to tourists in Kwale isles; a famous island in Menai bay. They also participate in different trade fairs in the country and region, in various festivals and cultural celebrations. All these events offer them an important opportunity to sell their prestigious pearls.

Increased group owned farms and individual farms as well as the increased number of people engaged in pearling pose enormous threats for oysters’ population in Menai Bay Conservation Area. This is because the growing of pearl oysters in the island relies entirely on the collection of adult animals from deep water. If too many adults are taken for pearl farming, they will become very rare or disappear and the whole industry would collapse.

spat collectors

To mitigate the risk, we resorted to spat collection (a way of harvesting young pearl oysters to avoid over fishing of the adult population). Spat collection is used as a main source of providing enough young pearl oysters that produce better pearls anyway; while avoiding harming adult oysters which are left to breed for sustainability of the initiative in the area.

30 metres spat collection lines, with several spat collectors have been installed in all the sites. Since spat are attracted by the nature of substrate, three different spat collectors made by rice bags pieces rolled together, coconut shells and  rubber are deployed. Spat prefer settling on dark places so the rice bags are painted with black colour to influence the settlement of spats. Since pearl oysters spawn at different times each year, new spat collectors will be hung every month to test the right season to collect the most spat and to test different locations.

Categories: Uncategorized Tags:

WIO-COMPAS goes to Tana!

March 19th, 2009 No comments

The Western Indian Ocean Marine Science Association (WIOMSA) in partnership with the Coastal Resources Center at the University of Rhode Island (CRC) is pleased to announce another offering of Level 2 Certification for Marine Protected Area Professionals.

The event will be held in Antananarivo, Madagascar, from the 11-16th of July 2009. The language of assessment for this offering will be French. The deadline for submission of applications is on the 23rd of March 2009!

Please visit the WIO-COMPAS website to download the call for applications and the application form.

Categories: Uncategorized Tags:

Turn off your lights and support the Earth Hour. By Nirmal Shah.

March 18th, 2009 No comments

What do you do when the lights go off? Curse, light candles, call a friend, go outside, or get romantic? Well, you can let your imagination go wild on Saturday 28th March because I am urging everyone in the Western Indian Ocean Countries  to join the Earth Hour by switching off their lights from 8:30PM to 9.30PM local time.

 Make a bold statement about your concern for climate change by doing something quite simple—turning off your lights for one hour.  Earth Hour symbolizes that by working together, we can all make an impact in the struggle against global warming.

 VOTE EARTH is the global campaign organized by WWF to support the Earth Hour. More than 75 countries and territories have pledged their support to VOTE EARTH during Earth Hour 2009, and this number is growing everyday. Essentially, it is the world’s first global vote on the issue and casting your vote is as easy as flicking a switch.

 Earth Hour began in Sydney in 2007 when over two million people switched off their lights for one hour. In 2008 the lights out campaign went international with over 50 million people in 371 cities, across 35 countries flicking the switch. This year, the goals for Earth Hour are loftier. Already 250 cities in 74 countries have agreed to take part including Atlanta, Chicago, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Miami and Nashville with more signing up every day. Around the world cities like Moscow, Hong Kong, Mumbai, Shanghai and Mexico City will turn out their lights in support.

 Anyone can participate. As our great Archbishop Desmond Tutu says “Earth Hour is an opportunity for every man, woman and child from all corners of the globe to come together with a united voice and make a loud and powerful statement on the issue of climate change.” Big names like Alanis Morisette and Janeane Garofalo have made promotional videos and multinational business are also chipping in.

 So, what do you do when the lights are out on Saturday? Here are 10 of my favorite tips:

  1. Go on a night dive (or a night swim)
  2. Get a guitar and some friends together and sing those nostalgic songs
  3. Organize a barbecue
  4. Have a candlelit dinner
  5. Gather the children around for story telling
  6. Play board games
  7. Watch the night sky and spot the constellations
  8. Walk on the beach
  9. Text a long lost friend or colleague
  10. Share a romantic night with someone you love

Bonus tip: Work on your laptop until the batteries give up!


Categories: Uncategorized Tags:

Sharks bite the dust. By Nirmal Jivan Shah, Mahe, Seychelles (

March 17th, 2009 No comments

More than 70 million sharks are killed every year, an astonishing number, and some shark species are on the brink of extinction.  How often have I heard European and North American countries lamenting the disappearance of so many species in the developing world?  But incredibly, the European Union is responsible for more than 55% of worldwide shark meat imports and over 30% of worldwide exports. Three European countries- the Netherlands, France and Spain- are the key traders in shark fin. Spain’s dubious leadership in this trade amounts to approximately 95% of all the fins exported by Europe. The new European Commission Community Plan of Action for the Conservation and Management of Sharks is vague and although has some positive aspects, including a shark discard ban and a requirement to land shark fins and bodies at the same time and in the same port,  its implementation and timeline is unclear and there is no mechanism to review effectiveness. The major disappointment   is the lack of controls over the EU’s regulation prohibiting shark fining.  It seems to me that this is the end of the road for sharks and the developed countries are major contributors to this lamentable state of affairs.


Categories: Uncategorized Tags:

Nomination of WIOMSA fellow and honorary members.

March 17th, 2009 No comments

The second WIOMSA Honorary and Fellow membership award ceremony will be held in August 2009, during the Sixth Symposium in Reunion. The awards are an integral part of building scientific capacity in the region as they are given to individuals in recognition of their exemplary/outstanding/distinguished contribution in the development of marine science in the region and/or problem solving and actions geared towards improving management of coastal and marine environment in the region.  


Please send in your proposed nominees for the awards by the 31st of March 2009.


Categories: Uncategorized Tags:

Photo competition.

March 17th, 2009 No comments

Do you want to take part in the Sixth WIOMSA symposium photo competition? Can you take photos that depict any scene from the coastal and marine environment in the Western Indian Ocean both above and below the ocean surface? Do your photographs demonstrate how actions by different actors from the local to the national level are contributing towards the achievement of millennium development goals? Do they illustrate human activities, research and environmental impact? If so, then send in these photos for entry into the symposium photo competition that will be held during the symposium week in Reunion.


The deadline for submission of photographs is the 30th of May 2009.  For further information, download the photo competition call from our website,


Categories: Uncategorized Tags:

The Sixth WIOMSA symposium: Beat submission deadlines!

March 17th, 2009 No comments

The Sixth WIOMSA scientific symposium will be held on the 24th-29th of August 2009. Please note that the deadline for submission of abstracts for the symposium is fast approaching on the 28th of March 2009! The deadline for submission of proposals to organize special sessions and side events is even closer; on the 27th of March 2009! Do send in your abstracts and proposals to the WIOMSA secretariat before then.


Download the 2nd announcement and call for abstracts from our website,

Categories: Uncategorized Tags:

WIOMSABlog has been launched!!

March 12th, 2009 8 comments

WIOMSABlog has been launched by the Western Indian Ocean Marine Science Association (WIOMSA). It has been established to communicate recent work, and should be of interest to those who would like to learn about what is going on in the Western Indian Ocean region. This blog provides information and comments on coastal and marine environments, with special focus on research, educational and technological developments including ecological, social, political, social, cultural and economic matters.


Furthermore, this blog is created to encourage dialogue and discussions on all aspects of coastal and marine environment in the region. In this regard, your comments are welcomed as long as you identify yourself transparently.


Please submit your contribution, with a suggested title and full contact information, to All contributors, whether of articles and/or photos, will be fully acknowledged.