The last 6 weeks have seen the continuation of the commercial fish surveys (following on from last phase) along with the start of several new projects which involve the Mafia Island Marine Park and several other external parties on Mafia Island, where our camp is based.
Volunteers were trained in survey methods for reef fish and substrate identification, in order to be able to complete UVS and point count surveys of commercial fish. All participants required a 95% pass rate in order to complete training – and everyone passed with flying colours! Once training was completed, Frontier Tanzania Marine started the monitoring of the Kinasi and Milimani sites (point counts and UVS transects completed at each), with the aim of adding the sites of Dinidini and Jina wall to the list of monitoring sites. These sites are in the ‘core zone’ of the park and so are extra important.
The start of this phase has also seen the continuation of a project aimed at investigating the little known hippo population on Mafia island and also of promoting a potential ecotourism project with the village of Gonge. At the end of last phase, key informant interviews were held within villages known to have had populations of hippos on Mafia, and the information collected was used to write an informative booklet and poster in Swahili, raising awareness about the hippo human conflict, and also attempting to change the attitude of hippos as pests on the island.
After meetings with the local communities involved, a study was undertaken by the camp, in which they visited several of the lagoons around Gonge, and took observation notes of the any fresh hippo tracks or dung. Two hippos were even sighted early in the morning on the second day as they were returning to the water!
Read more about our Tanzania Marine Conservation and Diving project!