Mozambique has reiterated the government’s commitment to maximising the benefits offered by the sea, but always on the basis of sustainability.
Mozambique’s Minister of the Sea, Inland Waters and Fisheries, Augusta Maita, said this while speaking in Maputo at celebrations of World Oceans Day, held under the theme “Innovation for the Sustainability of the Ocean: Clean Seas and a Protected Ecosystem”.
Maita noted that the sea is of critical importance for Mozambique since about 60 per cent of the country’s population lives in the coastal strip. A key goal in the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals is “to conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources”.
Maita stressed that the government is aware of the threats posed by climate change, increased population and the urbanisation of coastal areas, which put pressure on marine ecosystems such as coral reefs and mangroves, endangering their long term existence.
“We are all called upon to work together and in harmony – the government, local communities, and partner organisations that deal with the sea”, said the Minister.
She noted that the government had, in April, approved a strategy for the management of mangroves, which would be a tool to block the destruction of this crucial coastal ecosystem. The purpose was to reverse the current trend which is one of mangrove deforestation: currently, Mozambique is losing five per cent of its mangrove forests every year.
As for coral reefs, the management and conservation of this ecosystem have been identified as a priority. Maita said the state of Mozambique’s coral reefs is under analysis, in order to produce the detailed knowledge necessary for drawing up a national plan of action and contribute to fighting against the bleaching and destruction of corals.
Under the Sustainable Development Goals, Mozambique should raise its marine protected areas from three per cent to ten per cent of its seas, in order to ensure greater protection of marine biodiversity. Maita said this was an enormous challenge, “but Mozambique has joined various global initiatives to increase still further the percentage of areas of marine protection. We believe this could help reverse the degradation of the oceans, making them more capable of providing multiple services to the planet”.