Mario Abudo Naval
A boat and a man is all that is needed to protect the wellbeing of an ecosystem. In an area where fish scarcity is causing serious problems among the population, such as malnutrition and stunting, the work that Mario Abudo Naval does as a community monitor is guaranteeing a plentiful fish supply for this and future generations.
Community monitoring of no-take zones is essential to their success. Not only does it guarantee that the limits of the no-take zone and that fishermen stick to spillover zones to fish, but it also helps ensure the sustainability of the no-take zones by having a local leader enforcing the rules.
Mario Abudo Naval knows the vital importance of his job as a monitor at the Corane no-take zone in the Moma estuary. He sees a correlation of his efforts to the number of species and the quantity of fish increase. Nowadays, he explained, fishermen find lobster, shrimp and crab in the spillover zones adjacent to the no-take zones, all of which were becoming increasingly difficult to find in the estuary.
“We work every day, 24/7. We don’t even have holidays,” Mario said.
He also explained that they have a zero-tolerance policy if they find someone fishing within the limits of the no-take zone. They take their fishing nets or poles and take them to the authorities. Training the monitors is all done as part of the process of establishing a no-take zone. The process also includes raising the community’s awareness, having them identify potential sites, assessing these sites and then establishing the no-take zone by marking its limits with buoys.
Monitors also tell fishermen to avoid using harmful fishing practices, such as mosquito nets for fishing, and about the importance of mangroves to guaranteeing the health of the estuary.
Five years after the no-take zones were established in Moma, the positive effects that they have been yielding are still in effect. In the spillover areas, it is very common to see many fishermen taking advantage of the no-take zone’s bounty. Their boats are full of crabs, shrimp and fish. Other communities on the Moma estuary are asking for no-take zones and in Angoche, the establishment of no-take zones is on its final stages.