The Comoros islands in the northern Mozambique Channel are home to some of the highest levels of marine biodiversity found anywhere beyond the southeast Asian archipelagos. Working with their partner Dahari on the island of Anjouan, @beyondconservation
recently supported the Comoros’ first periodic closure of an octopus fishery.
100 hectares of reef flat, adjacent to the villages of Vassy, Dzindri and Salamani on the southwest peninsula of Anjouan, was closed to fishing for four months. The closure was organised by the fisherwomen’s association Maecha Bora, which includes members from all three adjacent villages, and was inspired by a community exchange visit to Blue Ventures’ partner Mwambao in Zanzibar.
On opening day, 10 September 2018, the average octopus weight recorded was double the average weight before the closure. After seeing the increased catches, several fishers who had initially been opposed to the closure quickly changed their minds, becoming outspoken advocates for the model within their communities.
Communities across Anjouan are now enthusiastic to organise more closures, and discuss other management measures, exemplifying how closures can act as a catalyst to increase buy-in and interest in community-led marine management.
Tusk funds helped Blue Ventures with the initial socioeconomic and environmental assessment as well as community training and fishery monitoring. .
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