How does one strike a balance between sustainable resource use and maximum economic gains? This is a concern that arises especially in disadvantaged communities. The emerging concept of ‘’Blue Economy’’ has been embraced in different communities across the world, but is it sustainable? For decades, coastal communities in South Africa have been harvesting marine resources and it has proven challenging to benefit from the ocean while also ensuring that the ocean and marine life are sustained for future generations.
WWF South Africa is on a journey to unlock the Sustainable Blue Economy of South Africa through the South West Indian Ocean Sustainable Blue Economy (SWIO-SBE) Project, along with new Project Coordinator, Monalisa Mabandla. On the 14th of October 2022, the WWF South Africa team in Partnership with the Department of Forestry Fisheries and Environment officially launched the SWIO SBE project as a pilot project to the small town of Port St Johns in the Eastern Cape.
The SWIO- SBE pilot project aims to improve East Coast Rock Lobster management, sustainability, and value for the benefit of community members and the marine environment. The project also aims to strengthening co-governance, which will further promote sustainable use of the resource for current and future generations. The project also aims to develop an investment model that would attract mainstream investments that would support sustainable marine enterprise development.
The launch event had an audience of ~~120 attendees including Small Scale Fisheries (SSF) Cooperatives and various stakeholders. The event was a success and a highlight was WWF issuing digital devices to representatives of the Cooperatives. The tablets are to enable SSF Cooperatives to capture catch data and communicate with their stakeholders. This is the beginning of something great, and we look forward to having a fruitful and fulfilling path unlocking Sustainable Blue Economy of South Africa.
Monalisa Mabandla, SWIO-SBE Project Coordinator