This project will help protect seahorses of Vilankulo, Mozambique that are particularly vulnerable to poaching since Covid-19 decimated tourism. We will help the village fisheries committee by guiding them and equipping them with them with bouys, kayaks, snorkel gear and training to demarcate and patrol protected seahorse habitats to keep the poachers out and let biodiversity thrive.
Dried seahorses were once called "diamonds" in Mangalisse village where children even dropped out of school to capture them for traffickers linked with the traditional Chinese medicine trade. In 2018, ParCo helped the community develop a seahorse tourism business for alternative income and poaching dropped by an estimated 80%. But when Covid suspended tourism, poaching rose again. The community is ready to pursue direct monitoring of the habitats against poachers.
Seahorses are easy for fishermen to hide along with legal catch such as crabs. But the Mangalisse Village Fisheries Committee will deter poaching by establishing protection zones for all species including seahorses to thrive. This project will provide the committee with equipment, guidance and training to roll-out its own locally managed marine protection area.
We know that by working with the local community to take action, we can protect seahorse from decline and protect biodiversity for future generations. Our efforts target three species in the Bazaruto seascape: spotted and thorny seahorses which are classified as "Vulnerable" and decreasing according to the IUCN and the giraffe seahorse which is "Data Deficient" meaning that so little is known about them that we even know how endangered they might be. We need to act now to save them!