Give the fish a home
A terrestrial emergency is unfolding the world over, and Africa is particularly at risk. In addition to the exponential change in weather patterns and food systems already experienced by many communities across the continent, the projected effects of climate change, deforestation, and land degradation could result in the extinction of species and have profound effects on people and ecosystems. The world’s youngest continent is under siege, in particular, the 70 percent of her population who are under thirty, are staring at a bleak future, unless they do something urgently. Juma Majanga looks at how Africa’s young leaders are fighting to save the planet.
Watch the movie to learn more about these Warriors.
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Done by fisherman
Over the past six months, several agreements have been signed regarding the protection of the oceans. By 2030, thirty percent must be protected. But how do you convince a fisherman to leave the sea undisturbed? A small fishing village in Kenya sets a good example.
If you travel all the way to the south of Kenya, near the Tanzanian border, you will reach Wasini Island, a paradise-like place. On one side of the island lies a protected marine park with coral reefs, tropical fish, and dolphins. On the other side lies a channel between the island and the beach, where members of the community and local authorities have a say.
One of those people is Dosa Mshega. On the beach of the small village of Mkwiro, he sits alongside a group of old fishermen making their nets. “We’ve seen the fish catch decrease here,” says Mshega on behalf of the so-called Beach Management Unit. “We were catching less and less.”
You might think that the fishermen would want as much space as possible to catch some fish. However, instead, they agreed to establish a zone where nets are not cast. Mshega points to two red buoys in the water. “It’s a restricted area between those.”
New artificial reefs & outplanted coral
‘Thought coral was a kind of stone’
Much of the coral has been destroyed in the past. By leaving a portion of the sea undisturbed now, the community hopes that fishing will ultimately increase. In the protected part of the channel, there are now a variety of artificial coral reefs. These were placed there through a Kenyan-Dutch collaboration between the Beach Management Unit and a local diving center on one side, and Wageningen University and the Dutch Foundation REEFolution on the other.
“We used to think that coral was just a type of stone,” Mshega explains. “But now we know that coral reefs attract fish. Many fish are also born there and then swim to the areas outside the buoys. This way, we hope that protecting one area will lead to more fish in the other.”
Making this agreement was not easy, says marine biologist Ewout Knoester of Wageningen University, who lives in Kenya. “It took some time to find a village willing to cooperate with the project. But Mkwiro was immediately enthusiastic.” Local fishermen saw that something had to change. Furthermore, the project creates jobs: a portion of the local community has retrained as divers. They now do most of the breeding and restoration work on the artificial reef in the protected zone.
Watch the movie hosted on dutch national news
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Empowering people, improving lives
To celebrate the 3 year partnership with Linklaters, 3 employees visited Shimoni, Kenya. They experienced a week as Reef Ranger.
Planting Mangroves & Class education
They learned how to build and construct effective and durable coral nursery trees, deployed artificial reef structures into the sea in specific restoration zones and planted mangrove trees. For an impression of their experiences and what they have learned from ‘one week in the life of a REEF Ranger’ we refer to the video which shows the amazing work of REEFolution in Kenya to which Linklaters was given the opportunity to contribute and participate on-site!
“We need to take action now instead of later, because then we will be too late!”
Pepijn OostingEmployee Linklaters
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Thanks to the support and contribution of partners across the globe, our Reef Rangers, scientist, together with the local community, can save and protect coral reefs.
REEFolution has been granted the Public Benefit Organisation (ANBI) status since 2018.
With the ANBI-status, REEFolution does not have to pay tax on the donations we receive. Moreover, donations given to REEFoluiton also become tax-deductible for you as partner.
Our fiscal number (RSIN): 855931383
Explanation of an ANBI-status
The Tax Authority grants ANBI-status to institutions that contribute at least 90% of their efforts to the general benefit. ANBI institutions can include charities or cultural organisations.
ANBI-status comes with tax benefits for Dutch tax-payers who want to make a donation to REEFolution. This applies to periodic donations by individuals and one-time contributions by entities and can hence be deducted from income- or corporate tax.
To keep the recognition as ANBI
REEFolution has to meet a number of requirements in addition to contributing to the general benefit. It is important that the institution does not have a profit motive.
This link will redirect you to the government website which explains more about ANBI.
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One of the most rewarding snorkeling location in Kenya. Understand the importance of the colorful complex critical coral ecosystem.
Watch the full movie now
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Life as a
Life beneath the waves has always fascinated me. From the vibrant coral reefs to the mysterious depths of the ocean, the marine world has been my lifelong passion. Working as a marine scientist for REEFolution Trust Kenya has allowed me to turn that passion into a career, and in this blog post, I’d like to share my journey, the skills I’ve gained, and the incredible honor of winning the Marine Conservationist of the Year award.
My journey as a marine scientist began with a deep-rooted love for the ocean. Growing up near the coast, I spent countless hours exploring tide pools, snorkeling, and reading books about marine life. As I embarked on my academic journey, I knew that I wanted to dedicate my life to the conservation of our oceans and its precious ecosystems.
After completing my marine resource management bachelors degree, I was fortunate enough to join REEFolution Trust Kenya, a non-profit organization committed to marine conservation and community engagement along the Kenyan coast. Working with this dedicated team of marine scientists and conservationists was a dream come true.
Watch my video on the page!
Tree construction & outreach
All the skills gained
1. Scientific Research: My role at REEFolution Trust Kenya allowed me to conduct crucial scientific research on coral reefs, marine biodiversity, and the impact of climate change on coastal ecosystems. I honed my skills in data collection, analysis, and interpretation.
2. Community Engagement: Conservation is not just about science; it’s also about people. I learned the importance of involving local communities in our conservation efforts. We worked closely with fishermen and coastal communities to promote sustainable fishing practices and raise awareness about the importance of protecting our oceans.
3. Adaptability: Marine conservation often presents unexpected challenges, from extreme weather conditions to logistical hurdles. I developed the ability to adapt quickly and find innovative solutions to ensure the success of our projects.
4. Communication: Effective communication is vital in raising awareness about marine conservation. I improved my ability to convey complex scientific concepts to the public, whether through educational workshops, presentations, or social media outreach.
5. Graphic Design: I’ve honed the ability to distill vast amounts of scientific information into clear and concise visuals, such as infographics and data visualizations, making marine conservation data more understandable and engaging
The Marine Conservationist of the year Award
After years of hard work and dedication to marine conservation, I was humbled and thrilled to be recognized as the Marine Conservationist of the Year. This prestigious award was a testament to the collective efforts of the entire REEFolution Trust Kenya team.
The award ceremony was a memorable moment, not just for me but for our organization and the communities we serve. It highlighted the importance of our work in protecting Kenya’s coastal ecosystems and the incredible biodiversity they support.
Winning the Marine Conservationist of the Year award was undoubtedly a career highlight, but it also serves as a reminder of the ongoing challenges we face in preserving our oceans. The honor has inspired me to continue working tirelessly to protect our marine environments and promote sustainable practices.
As I reflect on my journey as a marine scientist with REEFolution Trust Kenya, I am grateful for the skills I’ve gained, the people I’ve met, and the impact we’ve made. Together, we can ensure that future generations can also marvel at the beauty of our oceans and appreciate the vital role they play in our world.
My life as a marine scientist with REEFolution Trust Kenya has been an incredible adventure, filled with scientific discovery, community engagement, and a deep commitment to marine conservation. Winning the Marine Conservationist of the Year award has been a tremendous honor, and it motivates me to continue my efforts in safeguarding our precious marine ecosystems for generations to come.
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Coral reefs are among the most biodiverse and valuable ecosystems on Earth, but they face severe threats from overfishing and unsustainable fishing practices. Here we highlight the main impacts of these harmful practices on coral reefs.
Fish that have made this place their residence
Fishing methods & bycatch
1. Overfishing: losing keystone species
Overfishing occurs when so many fish are caught from a reef, that the natural rate of reproduction is exceeded. This can be true for targeted fish species, but also for species that are caught accidentally and die as bycatch. This results in declining fish populations and disruption of the reef ecosystem.
For example, overfishing can lead to the depletion of key herbivores, such as parrotfish, which are essential for controlling algae growth on reefs. When these herbivores disappear, algae can overgrow and smother corals, harming the reef’s health.
Removing certain other species from the reef ecosystem can also have cascading effects. For example, the removal of predators like groupers, snappers and sharks can lead to an increase in fish that eat corals. The loss of specific species can disrupt the delicate balance of the reef, impairing its overall health and resilience.
2. The damage by destructive fishing
Certain fishing techniques, like blast fishing and cyanide fishing, can be highly destructive to coral reefs. Blast fishing involves using explosives to stun and kill fish, also causing extensive damage to the reef structure. Fishing with the toxin Cyanide not only harms the targeted fish, but also the surrounding corals. These practices harm both the reef’s inhabitants and the corals themselves.
Also more conventional fishing gear, like nets and traps, can physically damage coral reefs. When these materials get caught on the reef, the corals can break or be smothered, leading to their death. This habitat destruction not only harms the corals but also the fish and other animals that rely on the reef for shelter and breeding.
Striking a balance
Coral reefs are extremely important for local fishermen,but fishermen can undermine their own livelihoods by using harmful fishing methods. As more and more people depend on fishing, it becomes increasingly important that those fisheries are well managed. When managed sustainably, fishing can provide long-term income and food to many coastal people. A healthy reef would not only continue to support fisheries, but also all other benefits such as tourism opportunities and coastal protection.
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hot, acidified and turbulent oceans
Coral reefs are incredible underwater worlds that teem with life, but they are facing a serious threat from the changing climate. We will explain the three major ways how climate change is affecting these delicate ecosystems.
1. Warming oceans and coral bleaching
As our planet warms due to the accumulation of greenhouse gasses in the atmosphere, the oceans absorb much of this excess heat. This rise in ocean temperatures directly impacts coral reefs. When water becomes too warm, corals expel the tiny symbiotic algae (zooxanthellae) living in their tissues. These algae give corals their vibrant colors and provide essential nutrients through photosynthesis. Without them, corals lose their primary food source and appear white, a phenomenon known as coral bleaching. Bleached corals are more susceptible to stress, diseases, and death. They can recover when water temperatures decrease again, but this appears increasingly unlikely in a warming world.
2. Ocean acidification and dissolving homes
As we release more carbon dioxide into the air, the oceans absorb a lot of it. This makes the water more acidic. Corals and other marine life that build shells and skeletons from calcium carbonate will struggle to do so in more acidic water. This means their homes are at risk of dissolving, making it difficult for them to survive. Ocean acidification is a slow process, and therefore the impacts have only recently become visible. However as ocean acidification becomes more severe, it also becomes much more difficult to stop.
3. Extreme weather and storm damage
Warmer ocean temperatures can intensify tropical storms and hurricanes. These extreme weather events pose a direct threat to coral reefs. Powerful waves can break and dislodge corals, leaving them vulnerable to diseases. The debris from these storms can also smother the reefs, suffocating them and hindering their recovery.
Urgent climate action needed
In conclusion, climate change is having large and negative impacts on coral reefs. Additional, less understood threats such as rising sea levels and altering ocean currents can further harm reefs. The longer emissions continue, the worse these impacts become. For that same reason, any effort to reduce emissions will help to make a difference. By understanding these challenges and taking steps to reduce our carbon footprint, we can help ensure the survival of these and other vital ecosystems.
Together, we can work towards a healthier planet and a brighter future for coral reefs and all the life they support.