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P&S welcomes new boats and diving gear

July 1, 2013
P&S Program Manager John Guernier testing out the program's recently acquired scuba diving gear,

P&S Program Manager John Guernier testing out the program’s recently acquired scuba diving gear

With the greatly anticipated arrival of boats and diving equipment last week, the P&S team is looking forward to more time out at sea. The boats and dive gear will provide the team with greater flexibility and access to the Primeiras e Segundas archipelago, facilitating work in co-management, protection, law enforcement, science and monitoring.

P&S Program staff with four new boats

P&S Program staff with four new boats

Aptly named after islands in the archipelago, five boats, four small and one large, will greatly improve the program’s accessibility to the islands as well as frequency of trips. Prior to the boats’ arrival, P&S had to rely only on one functioning (sometimes) Navy boat to conduct patrols and the monthly rotation of community rangers stationed on the four islands of Ponta Caldeira, Njovo, Puga Puga, and Mafamede.

These rangers are protecting the nesting sites of three species of marine turtles and helping to monitor and promote advised fishing practices in collaboration with local government.

“With these boats, our work will improve” commented Bernado Cachimo, the Chief and supervisor of the Community Rangers. “In the coral reefs, for example, where it was not previously possible for us to monitor and patrol, we can work with fisherman to raise awareness about legal and illegal fishing practices and ensure regulations are followed.”

Boats will also improve safety and security for the rangers. “In cases of emergencies or dangerous winds, we had to wait for the one boat. Now with boats stationed on the islands, we will be able to respond to adverse weather warnings more quickly. We are very happy and feel much more secure.”

Natural Resource Management Marine Officer Cremildo Armando during open water diving course, Pemba

Natural Resource Management Marine Officer Cremildo Armando during open water diving course, Pemba

But it is not just the arrival of boats and diving equipment that we are pleased about. The capacity of the P&S team is growing. With the recent completion of his open-water diving certification and course in Coral Reef Resilience from The Nature Conservancy (TNC), P&S Natural Resource Management Marine Officer Cremildo Armando is ready to take the plunge.

Along with getting underwater, plans for the future include establishing an in-house monitoring system of keystone fish species, such as herbivores, and coral reefs and a training of community rangers in reef resilience.

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