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Raising awareness about marine conservation and sustainable resource management and creating independent small businesses by developing aquaculture techniques in order to reduce poverty in Zanzibar
by marinecultures.org - Zanzibar, East Africa (Non-governmental organization (NGO))
Zanzibars coastal region shows a dramatic picture: the population is rapidly growing, poverty increases in spite of the raising tourism industry and natural resources are ruthlessly exploited. As a result, the ecosystem heavily suffers and biodiversity declines what again fuels the vicious circle of poverty.

In developing countries like Zanzibar, the assertiveness and the financial state of the governments are mostly too weak to implement conservation and resource management projects successfully top down. This is where marinecultures.org comes in: Our aim is to raise awareness for a sustainable and conscious use of resources by following a bottom-up approach. We do not only organize awareness events for the respective target groups but also develop and implement in close cooperation with the local population a number of initiatives to improve the quality of their life, while protecting the oceans resources.

For our long-term involvement we are rewarded with a lot of trust within the local communities. They start to actively approach marinecultures.org for support. We currently help the fisherman of Zanzibars Southern East coast to set up an Octopus Management System based on a model, which has already been successfully implemented by our partner organization Blueventures in Madagascar. Besides, some so called No Take Zones are being planned on the initiative of the local fishermen. We consider these two activities a great success for our constant efforts to raise awareness for a sustainable management of natural resources.

Over the last years, we have developed a sponge farming technique, which allow us to offer jobs and help to set up small family businesses. We are also in the process of developing coral farms to export small corals to the aquarium market and to support the reforestation of damaged reefs. With that we show the local population an alternative to exploitation of the limited natural resources.

The radius of these initiatives is still modest; nevertheless, they contribute to a balanced ecosystem. And the widespread attention we get for our successfully implemented method of growing bath sponges shows us that persistence pays off and that we are on the right track. Since one year we are scaling our model in Zanzibar and in the second half of 2017 we will start to export it to neighboring countries.
Progress reports
December 2017
Scale the sponge farming development and the production in Zanzibar to generate more jobs and independent small scale- or family business
December 2017
Locally managed Octopus management system in the southern half of the east coast of Zanzibar
December 2018
Multiplication of the sponge farming development in the WIO region / Seychelles, Madagascar
December 2020
Empower the local communities for a responsible, sustainable handling of their natural resources in the near future and convince them that active marine conservation is economically more successful than marine resource overuse.
Financing (in USD)
150,000 USD
Staff / Technical expertise
Sustainable Aquaculture Development
In-kind contribution
Work and real values by members
Basic information
Time-frame: April 2009 - December 2024
Jamabeco, Zanzibar / Mwambao, Zanzibar / coralreefcare.com, Netherlands / Blue Ventures, Madagascar / MERIP, Micronesia / Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock, Natural Resources and Fisheries, Zanzibar
Ocean Basins
  • Indian Ocean
Beneficiary countries
Other beneficaries
Other countries of the Western Indian Ocean
Contact information
Christian Vatertlaus, Managing Director, c.vaterlaus@marinecultures.org, +255 783 357 357 / +41 79 353 11 00
Zurich, Switzerland / Jambiani, Zanzibar
Other SDGs
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