Maputo — The Mozambican government has declared two small archipelagos, rich in marine wild life, as areas of environmental protection.
The archipelagos are known, rather unimaginatively, as the “Ilhas Primeiras” (First Islands) and “Ilhas Segundas” (Second Islands). The former are located off the coast of Pebane district, in the central province of Zambezia, while the second lie between the coastal districts of Angoche and Moma, in the northern province of Nampula. Each archipelago consists of five islands.
Briefing reporters on Tuesday after a meeting of the Council of Ministers (Cabinet), the government spokesperson, Deputy Justice Minister Alberto Nkutumula, explained that the government has decided to protect the two archipelagos in order to conserve coastal and marine habitats, maintain biodiversity, and ensure the renewal of fisheries resources.
He pointed out that the islands are important for endangered species. They contain nesting sites for turtles, and are breeding grounds for dugongs.
“There are also coral reefs and mangrove forests, which are extremely importance for the reproduction of marine species”, Nkutumula added.
Some economic activities can still be undertaken on the islands, but they will require special licences. Nkutumula said a management plan will be drawn up, listing precisely what activities are allowed in the archipelagos.