Zanzibar — RESEARCHERS have revealed that Chwaka Bay in South Unguja is an important coastal area in Tanzania. In a book launched here in Zanzibar researchers reveal that the area has social-economical and ecological benefits advising people not to use destructive fishing gear.
The book, 'People, Nature and Research in Chwaka Bay, Zanzibar, Tanzania' launched by Zanzibar Minister for Livestock and Fisheries Mr Abdullahi Jihadi Hassan calls for the harmonization of management plans to address local needs and problems.
The 346-page publication, put together by 26 marine science researchers from Tanzania, Sweden and Israel, focuses on socio-economic settings, coastal livelihoods, geological processes, costal vegetation, and carbonate production amongst other topics.
According to Prof Maricela De la Torre-Castro, one of the researchers and co-editors from Stockholm University in Sweden, Chwaka Bay has a good scientific baseline to continue with more complex research "for example climate change and socio-ecological modelling."
"But it is important to consider high dependence of the people on marine resources, local economy, and ecosystem diversity including mangroves, seaweed, and corals," Dr Maricela said, adding: "The management challenges posed by the influx of new activities such as tourism and people joining fishing need to be addressed with great care... the role of different actors and policies has to be revised so as to clarify functions, goals and coordination."
Dr Narriman Jidawi from the Institute of Marine Science (IMS) University of Dar es Salaam said that researchers at Chwaka Bay overcame several challenges during the three-year study.
In his speech, Minister Jihadi thanked the 'Western Indian Ocean Marine Science Association (WIOMSA) and Sweden for the financial support towards the study, and asked people and academicians in the country to read and use the book for reference.
"However, I ask you to make a summary of the book in local language (Kiswahili) so that even the local people can read it," he advised. The launch was held at the Coconut Tree Beach Resort, and was witnessed by villagers and community leaders from Uroa, Marumbi, Michamvi, Chwaka, Charawe, and Ukongoroni.