Fishing boats on the shore in Zanzibar, Tanzania

Conserving Biodiversity in Tanzania .

Environment and Natural Resources

Heshimu Bahari Activity

Project Dates: August 2022 - August 2027
The Heshimu Bahari (“Respect the Ocean”) Activity is a multi-faceted, USAID-funded activity in Tanzania intended to enhance the ecological resilience and productivity of marine areas rich in biodiversity.

Overfishing and the effects of climate change are challenging the resilience of Tanzania’s biodiverse marine protected areas (MPAs), and poorly planned infrastructure projects, underdeveloped governance and co-management systems, and inadequate financing have contributed to poor management of the MPAs. The private sector has no incentive to participate in conservation efforts and management entities lack both a science-based, resilient approach and a cooperative relationship. Together, these challenges significantly constrain effective marine biodiversity conservation and the ability to measure programmatic impacts.

USAID’s Heshimu Bahari Activity and its partnering local and national governments, private sector stakeholders, and consortium with The Nature Conservancy and Wildlife Conservation Society will strengthen management of protected areas and wild-caught fisheries through evidence-based approaches to conserve biodiversity, enhance ecological resilience to climate change, and improve livelihoods and food security. Heshimu Bahari focuses on policy and governance reform; capacity building; and supporting national and district authorities, MPA management teams, and community co-management entities in strengthening the local economy and protecting marine biodiversity.

Heshimu Bahari’s science-driven management framework and enabling policy and governance environment will lead to sustainable co-management of and biodiversity conservation in MPAs and productive wild-caught fisheries, thereby protecting the ecological resilience of Tanzania’s ocean environments.

Project Goals

  • Establish an enabling framework for an MPA network for resilient biodiversity conservation and for enhanced wild-caught fisheries production.
  • Empower communities and community management structures to engage in co-management of MPAs for biodiversity conservation and wild-caught fishery productivity.
  • Incentivize private sector investment in MPAs and wild-caught fisheries through a strengthened enabling environment.
  • Increase scientific community engagement with policymakers and managers of MPAs and wild-caught fisheries.