Stakeholders’ perspective on the degradation of seagrass and the significance of its restoration to carbon sequestration : a case study of Zanzibar, Tanzania
Date of Award
Master of Science in Maritime Affairs
Oceans Sustainability, Governance & Management
This study investigates stakeholders’ perspectives on seagrass degradation and the importance of its restoration for carbon sequestration in Chwaka and Fumba in Zanzibar - Tanzania, as well as professionals. Study participants include 66 individuals from 2 fishing communities, government officials, non-governmental organizations, and academic institutions labelled as professionals in this study.
It employs a qualitative method approach using questionnaires to seek the perceptions of community people and professionals and also to understand the drivers of seagrass degradation as perceived by local community stakeholders, including fisherfolk, seaweed farmers, gleaners, and professionals. It also explores the awareness of the community regarding the role of seagrass in carbon sequestration. 50% of the respondents from Chwaka were aware of carbon sequestration with regards to seagrass, compared to 13.3% from Fumba.
The respondents identified various impacts, like loss of fish catch, loss of invertebrate gleaning, loss of the natural beauty of the ocean, and coastal and shoreline erosion due to seagrass degradation in the study area. They attribute it to factors such as climate change, fishing activities, grazing from sea urchins, and pollution as the causes of the degradation. The chi-square test (x²) shows that there is no significant difference from the study area in their perceptions of the impacts of seagrass degradation.
The study underscores the multifaceted benefits of seagrass restoration, reaffirming its pivotal role in marine ecosystems. These benefits encompass supporting fisheries, providing habitat, enhancing breeding grounds, and sequestering carbon, including blue carbon. The results aim to inform conservation and restoration strategies and management practices that address seagrass degradation while emphasizing the significant role seagrass restoration can play in mitigating climate change through carbon sequestration.
Understanding stakeholders’ perspectives and integrating their views into conservation initiatives is crucial for the sustainable management of seagrass ecosystems in Zanzibar and beyond, ultimately contributing to global efforts to combat climate change and preserve marine biodiversity.