Project started
1 January 2022
Project status
Project collaborators
Jeremy Huet profile photo

Jérémy Huet

Our Sea Our Life Programme Manager

Tackling unsustainable fishing practices in northern Mozambique

From climate change to pollution, the pressure on the diversity of marine life is growing across the world. Unsustainable fishing practices such as bottom trawling and ghost fishing are an urgent problem that threatens the stability of ecosystems, food security and livelihoods.

Sealife in Africa is under threat. In northern Mozambique, climate change, overfishing, unsustainable fishing practices and growing populations in coastal areas have taken their toll on local marine resources.  

Critical to the lives and livelihoods of coastal communities, we’re working with local people to improve the marine ecosystem.

With the Our Sea Our Life project, we work with vulnerable communities to manage local fisheries, using nature-based solutions. We work to improve the resilience of coastal ecosystems and community well-being by creating community fishers' councils to manage marine areas. We also develop sustainable financing mechanisms, and support Village Savings and Loan Associations to invest in alternative small-scale businesses and secure a diversity of income. 

Women and men often have defined and differing roles in small scale fishing communities. We recognise to implement a truly effective, sustainable and scalable model we need to identify opportunities to create strategies to involve women in discussions and the decision-making process. Research from the development sector shows that improving the well-being of women is one of the most effective tools to bring about significant change when working with traditional impoverished communities. 

Watch this short video on the gender equity elements of the project, prepared by and shown at the European Development Days (EDD) event, in June 2018. 

We coordinate Our Sea Our Life in collaboration with AMA, CORDIO East Africa, FCSH-NOVA, and UniLúrio. 



Threats to sealife in Africa 

Marine resources are threatened by: 

  • Rapid changes resulting from growing human populations 

  • Climate change impacts 

  • Increasing linkages to markets for marine products 

  • Illegal and foreign commercial fishing fleets 

  • Immigrant and immigrant fishers moving away from depleted stocks 

  • High-end tourism developments that are often poorly integrated with local communities and often restrict access to marine resources 

  • Most recently the planned exploitation and refining of huge natural gas reserves that are expected to account for 13% of the national economy within the next five years. These changes leave local populations increasingly vulnerable. 

Our Sea Our Life supports community-run marine areas in coastal communities in northern Mozambique. It contributes directly to biodiversity conservation by taking a species-specific approach. 

Declines in biomass of species of conservation concern (eg, the Endangered Napoleon wrasse and Threatened sharks, IUCN 2012) and important functional groups (eg, herbivores) are to be stabilised. Declines in the health and cover of the most important and vulnerable marine habitats - reef-building corals, mangroves and seagrasses – are to be halted. 

These actions reduce pressure on coastal marine ecosystems, increase resilience to climate change and improve food security. 

Watch this short video on the science components of the project, prepared for and shown at the Western Indian Ocean Marine Science Association (WIOMSA) symposium in October 2015. 

How we support sealife in Africa  

Our Sea Our Life develops sustainable mechanisms to finance the management by the community fishersfishers' councils in Nnorthern Mozambique. 

A continuous participatory work with six coastal communities defines incentives specific to each community to bridge the short-term opportunity costs of conservation. Village Savings and Loan Associations encourage members to invest in alternative small-scale businesses to diversify their income. The project Our Sea Our Life alleviates the pressure on marine resources and secures local livelihoods.  

Find out more about our conservation work in Africa

People involved 

Jérémy Huet is the Our Sea Our Life Project Manager 

Ana Pinto is the Outreach Specialist 

Susie Offord-Wolley is the Conservation Networks Manager 

Hannah Klair is the Conservation Programme Coordinator 

Partners and funders 



This project has received support from: 

Darwin Initiative logo
The flag of the European Union
fondation ensemble logo

Our Sea Our Life

  • Our Sea Our Life develops sustainable mechanisms to finance the management by the community fishers' councils in northern Mozambique.

  • The project alleviates the pressure on marine resources and secures local livelihoods.

  • Village Savings and Loan Associations (VSLAs) are an extremely successful element of Our Sea Our Life.  


Urgent action to stop the devastation of critical species and habitats by helping people and wildlife live better together, is the only way to save the natural world we love and depend upon. That’s where ZSL comes in, and where you can play your part.