Group take video of fishing diver showing off his catch on tropical beach

Linking nature and culture to support sustainable coastal livelihoods: establishing a Marine Protected Area (MPA) at the Island of Mozambique, East Africa

Lead institute: University of Edinburgh: Edinburgh Marine Archaeology

Project Manger: DR. Georgia Holly,

This project aims to integrate biocultural heritage into the MPA plans of Mozambique Island, for the equitable management of the natural environment, marine cultural heritage, and the coastal community. The project is collecting data on biocultural health and diversity of the Island (Mangroves; Coral; Fish; Reef Wrecks; Traditional Knowledge; Community Heritage); training local community monitors in underwater survey techniques to increase island capacities; and expanding on socio-economic data with socio-cultural surveys of coastal community regarding uses of marine space, gendered uses of the sea, and perceptions of local management.

So far, the project has found two new potential wrecks used for fishing; documented important areas for protection; and documented community oral histories. Findings include differences in marine resources and sea spaces particularly across generations and genders.

We are only beginning to understand the complex and evolving network of biocultural heritage interactions around the Island of Mozambique. Biocultural Indicators for marine management must consider the health and diversity of community interactions with the natural environment, cultural significances of built and intangible heritage, traditional ecological knowledge + alternative livelihoods: for the benefit of heritage, the environment, and the people who depend on it.

Divers conducting research underwater
Group of woman take survey in Mozambique
Divers inspects underwater shipwreck
Group or woman in Mozambique drawing together

The aims of this project are:

The LinacuMoz project aims to counteract unsustainable MPA policies by establishing a community-centred, nature/culture MPA around Mozambique Island. The project has three phases;

  1. Methodology: establish an appropriate biocultural heritage methodology for long-term project management, data collection, and community integration within project;
  2. Data Collection: Carry out above methodology with community, to collect a strong evidence base of data for MPA establishment and sustained management;
  3. MPA Development: Establish a biocultural heritage MPA for the sustainable and equitable management of the natural environment, cultural heritage, and community livelihoods.

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