An estuary is an area in which a river meets the ocean in a marvellous mixture of marine and coastal wildlife, and ours is the pinnacle example of such.
Our estuary has massive mangrove forests in and around the shore, which are the lifeline to the stunningly versatile marine wildlife we are lucky to have here. With the inclusion of these majestic mangrove forests as well as our active coral reefs, our wildlife population is unparalleled. With such comes a great responsibility. We actively need to conserve the environment and ensure that it is maintained, and we cannot do this alone.
With the help of our volunteers, this becomes possible.
The estuary is the main breeding ground for tiny shrimp and small fish species, which are at the base of the community fishing dynamics. We encourage and support the development of sustainable community fisheries, working with local communities to develop fisheries regulations that work for the community. We provide specialist training to communities and assist in monitoring the results of their developed regulations. We do this with the aim of leaving a legacy of community regulated fisheries and an adaptive framework to support them into the future. To date we have worked with 16 communities in southern Mozambique to protect and regulate over 160 km of the coast.
The estuary host two main different type of systems, a sandy-bottom reef and the mangrove forest, which host a variety sea urchins, starfish, nudibranchs, baby moray eel and sea horses. The monitoring of both these habitats is fundamental for the sustainability of the health of the estuary system and so, the commercial fisheries. During our weekly estuary trips, we conduct video transects along the reef and between the mangroves. We analyse these videos and count the number of fish of each family that are in each video, as well as measuring environmental variables, which allow us to gain an insight into the health of these valuable systems. Over the years this will allow us to verified the success of the protected areas, the status of the breeding fish areas and eventually, the necessity of modifying regulations.