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In keeping with DUrbanTV’s support of Endurance Athlete Sarah Ferguson’s epic #BreathOceanConservation OnceOceanSwim from Durban to Cape Town to raise awareness around the need to rid our oceans of plastic, DUrbanTV draws attention to the groundbreaking work to rebuild and protect a key coral reef off Zanzibar’s Mnemba Island.

OceansWithoutBorders, a not-for-profit organisation focused on marine conservation and community development, which is spearheading the Coral Reef Restoration Project on andBeyond Mnemba Island in partnership with Marine Cultures.

Coral reef restoration promises a lifeline for these threatened ecosystems, and a new project is taking shape right now, led by the Mnemba Island Oceans Without Borders’ Community and Conservation team. This restorative conservation project not only includes the engagement of the team with local coastal communities on the wholescale benefits of reef restoration, but two communities will participate in this initiative, enabling one and all to become active custodians of our oceans.

Nancy Iraba, Oceans Without Borders’ Project Manager (Mnemba Island), is an inspiring young marine scientist with a remarkable story.

Driven and passionate, Nancy Iraba is an eloquent advocate for any number of things – marine conservation, biodiversity preservation, access to the oceans, diving, woman power and so much more. As the Oceans Without Borders Project Manager at Mnemba Island off Zanzibar, she is also responsible for this initiative aimed at restoring  a precious Mnemba Island reef to its full glory.

Even though Nancy comes from the coastal city of Dar es Salaam in Tanzania, she only learned to swim after she completed her unversity degree. She literally dived into her passion for marine conservation when she was selected as a young scientist to take part in the IOC UNESCO expedition aboard the SA Aghulas to explore the coast from Durban to Tanzania. Only after this trip did Nancy finally learn to swim and dive, after which, along with her Masters degree in marine sciences, she was offered a job with Oceans Without Borders as project manager on Mnemba Island.

Dr Tessa Hempson, Oceans Without Borders’ Programme Manager and Principal Scientist, has seen reefs disappear in front of her eyes, over a timescale of just a few years.  These habitats not only support a myriad marine life and underpin the health of our oceans, but they also impact local livelihoods, food security, tourism and every aspect of the Blue Economy.

Coral reefs are the rainforests of the sea. These critically important ecosystems host more than 25% of all marine life.

In addition to this life-sustaining role, a decline in live coral cover also poses a significant threat to local livelihoods, food security, commercial and subsistence fisheries, tourism, and associated industries within the Blue Economy.

The pressures on Zanzibar’s reefs mirror those threats facing coral reefs around the world: increasing water temperatures resulting from climate change, tropical cyclones, destructive fishing practices, plastic waste, unregulated tourism and coastal development.

Oceans Without Borders is a unique collaboration between Africa Foundation and andBeyond Travel.

Facebook:

@Oceans Without Borders

 @Africa Foundation

@andBeyond Travel

@Mnemba Island

 

Instagram:

@oceanswithoutborders

@marinecultures

@africa_found

@andbeyondtravel

@andbeyonmnemba

 

Photo Credit: Mark Van Coller / Chris Barfoot

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