Mozambique protects Bazaruto coral reefs
The government of Mozambique on November 28 extended the boundaries of what had been solely a terrestrial park on the islands of the Bazaruto Archipelago to include 1,400 km2 of the surrounding waters. The newly named Bazaruto Archipelago National Park features coral reefs and seagrass beds that support a diverse fishery, a strong dive industry, and the largest viable dugong population on the East African coast. The pending management plan for the expanded park includes a zoning system that will establish some no-take areas, particularly in coral communities; elsewhere in the park, seine and hand-line fisheries by island residents will still be allowed.
Three of the five islands of the Bazaruto archipelago were designated a national park in 1971; the park charges tourists a user fee, the revenue of which goes toward conservation efforts and local communities. The Mozambican government anticipates that the new park designation for the surrounding waters will help spur more tourism in the area, thus benefiting the local economy and the coral reef ecosystem. For more information: Helena Motta, WWF Mozambique Programme Office, PO Box 4560, Maputo, Mozambique. Tel: +258 1 301186; E-mail: hmotta [at] wwf.org.mz.
MPA violation punished, based on satellite data
With evidence based almost exclusively on vessel-tracking data gathered from a satellite-based vessel monitoring system (VMS), the US federal government has successfully prosecuted a fishing vessel for repeatedly entering an area closed to fishing. The December 5 ruling against the Massachusetts-based fishing vessel Independence and its captain is the first US federal fisheries prosecution based on VMS data without eyewitness verification of the offense by enforcement officials. The scallop vessel was fined US $250,000, and its federal fishing permit was revoked. The US National Marine Fisheries Service uses VMS to assist in monitoring compliance with closed-area regulations (MPA News 2:5).