Empowering Mkwiro Beach Management Unit (Shimoni-Vanga Seascape) to Create Resilient Coral Reefs through Restoration, Conservation and Education

Dates: 2019 – 2020

Location: Mkwiro Village, Wasini Island, Kwale County

Participating Institutions: Mkwiro Beach Management Unit (BMU), REEFolution Foundation, State Department of Fisheries (SDF), Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS), Shimoni Aqua-ventures, Wageningen University & Research and Kenyatta University

Description: The local subsistence fishers of the Wakifundi tribe depend on the biodiverse coral reefs around Mkwiro. However, these reefs are deteriorating through overharvesting. Despite their high dependence on a healthy marine ecosystem, the Mkwiro community is unaware of the importance of ecological conservation. To revive fish populations and improve fishing and tourism opportunities, Mkwiro (BMU) proposes to establish a Community Managed Area (CMA).

Within a designated no-take zone in this CMA, a coral nursery will be established with the assistance of the REEFolution Foundation to grow coral and restore degraded reefs. The objective of the proposed project is to improve reef health and increase fish biomass of the reefs around Mkwiro, through empowering Mkwiro BMU and educating the community.

Through sustainable management, a resilient coral reef will provide livelihoods for present and future generations. The proposed project fits well within the GEF SGP Shimoni-Vanga Seascape Strategy, as the three-fold combination of rehabilitation, management and education aims to build ecological resilience, resulting in both social and economic benefits. More specifically, the proposed project addresses three out of the five GEF specific objectives for Shimoni-Vanga Seascape by (1) ensuring biodiversity and habitat conservation through coral reef restoration, (2) improving the governance capacity of the Mkwiro BMU to sustainably manage their reefs through workshops and financial support for monitoring and control and (3) sharing knowledge with both the community and other stakeholders through developing and distributing education material and by organising underwater excursions.