The distribution of dugongs in the coastal waters of Mozambique (MZ2).
Mozambique: Bazaruto archipelago National Park.
This project seeks to determine the presence and/or absence of dugongs and their relative numbers in areas surrounding the Bazaruto Archipelago, and to assess the extent and diversity of seagrass beds in these areas.
MZ2 will contribute to addressing threats to dugongs and their habitat by identifying new areas of dugong and seagrass distribution, as well as hotspots for dugong by-catch and destructive activities. To this end, the project will conduct questionnaire-based surveys of coastal fishing communities. The project will work with local people to gather records of dugong sightings and mortalities as well as to determine sites for the deployment of acoustic loggers.
Marine scientists and both local and provincial managers will be involved in the project and informed of its findings. Managers will also be involved in facilitating communication regarding the project and issuing research permits where applicable.
The data gathered by the project on dugong occurrence will be provided to the community in order to highlight the importance of their fishing grounds as source of critical marine biodiversity and encourage more responsible actions. Following analysis of the results, local and national provincial authorities will be informed in an effort to raise awareness among decision makers of the threats facing dugongs and their seagrass habitats.
1. Determine presence/absence of dugongs in target areas through community questionnaires and acoustic monitoring.
2. Determine the extent and diversity of seagrass beds in areas surrounding the Bazaruto Archipelago.
3. Develop a national knowledge base of dugong habitat and the historical and contemporary distribution and abundance of dugongs across Mozambique waters.