mmfAlthough the ocean is one of the main sources of nutrition and income for populations across the coastline of Mozambique, two thirds of Mozambicans perceive the ocean as something to be feared. And, as you can imagine, it’s pretty difficult to preserve something you fear.

This is one of the challenges addressed by the Marine Megafauna Foundation. They are an organization based in Mozambique, whose objective is to save ocean giants from extinction, by developing research based, long lasting solutions and engaging coastal communities as key actors in all conservation efforts.

Their main focus is the ‘Marine Megafauna’, which are large marine species such as sharks, rays, marine mammals and turtles. These animals are key components of marine ecosystems but, as they are long-lived and have low reproductive rates, their populations are usually the first to be reduced by human pressures. Fortunately, they are also amongst the most charismatic animals on the planet and engender a high degree of public interest in their biology and conservation, making them useful ambassadors for the whole marine environment.

MMF realised that, in order to ensure sustainable conservation solutions were upheld, they had to work to bridge the knowledge gap in local communities. By providing them with information and the opportunity to contribute to marine conservation, MMF engages communities to be a part of the solution.

Through their education and training programs, they want to change perceptions of the ocean from a source of income and food to an improved understanding of marine life; to provide information about sustainable fishing practices and alternative livelihoods; and to inspire a new generation of Ocean Guardians. Year round, they facilitate integrated marine conservation and swimming lessons with regular beach clean ups and ocean expeditions for the local children, provide ongoing training for local instructors and give regular interactive presentations to local schools.

And although MMF is operating across six continents to help protect marine megafauna species and marine ecosystems, there has been little focus on raising awareness of the organization to assist with collaborative efforts and financial support to continue their projects. With increased awareness and support, MMF can continue to drive change. This TIE placement will help raise awareness of MMF’s work, especially in the US market, with a view to mobilise interest and support for their marine conservation initiatives.