As Oceans Warm, Zanzibar Sea Farmers Grow Sponges to Survive

Nasir Hassan Haji alongside 12 other women in Jambiani village on the Indian Ocean coast, never thought of themselves as farmers or swimmers, but they have had to learn to swim for their floating sponge farm businesses to stay afloat. These farmers have come to rely on the climate-resilient, natural sponges bobbing on thick ropes, where they grow for months before the women harvest, clean and sell them to shops and tourists.

Research by the State University of Zanzibar shows that more than 90% of seaweed farmers on the island are women, and that they have seen changing water temperatures, rainfall patterns and ocean salinity hit production in recent years.

Using data that shows Zanzibar warming over the past 40 years, a 2012 study from the Global Climate Adaptation Partnership and Britain's former Department for International Development, projected the island's average maximum monthly temperature would rise by 1.5 to 2 degrees Celsius by the 2050s.

InFocus

Nasir Hassan Haji holds up her harvested sponges in a bag from her home in Jambiani in Zanzibar, Tanzania. June 21, 2021.

AllAfrica publishes around 800 reports a day from more than 100 news organizations and over 500 other institutions and individuals, representing a diversity of positions on every topic. We publish news and views ranging from vigorous opponents of governments to government publications and spokespersons. Publishers named above each report are responsible for their own content, which AllAfrica does not have the legal right to edit or correct.

Articles and commentaries that identify allAfrica.com as the publisher are produced or commissioned by AllAfrica. To address comments or complaints, please Contact us.

X