Western Indian Ocean Marine Science Association

Linking marine science, traditional knowledge and cultural perceptions of the sea in the Mozambique Channel to build tomorrow’s marine management using spatial simulation tools and educational game

Project Objectives

The overall goal of the project is to reveal and integrate the concepts of natural and cultural heritage related to the sea in the Mozambique Channel, by combining traditional and scientific knowledge, to help the people and countries bordering the channel to build a governance regime that reflects their values. Therefore, the project aims to help ensure the implementation of sustainable management of the ecosystems and resources in the region. More specifically, the project aims:
1) To develop a spatially explicit understanding of marine connectivity patterns, ecosystem state,and their vulnerability to drivers of change in the Mozambique Channel. This was done very basically for by Obura et al. 2012, so this new analysis will provide much stronger
2) To reveal the natural and cultural marine heritage in the Mozambique Channel, i.e. marine and coastal resources, peoples’ movements, governance regimes and perceptions by different groups of actors, at local and regional levels.
3) To share knowledge and perceptions of natural and cultural marine heritage between different groups of actors, and identify harmony/discordance among these.
4) To build capacity for improved marine management through interdisciplinary collaboration, training and exchanges around spatial simulation tools and pedagogical games related to the management of the sea.
5) To foster the incorporation of perceptions of natural and cultural heritage into marine governance regimes in the Mozambique Channel at local and regional levels.


MOZALINK addresses regional and local scale issues related to marine ecology, social perception and spatial planning in the Mozambique Channel. A set of local sites has been selected for focused local studies (see also the description of Modules 2, 3 and 4). Local study sites meet several criteria, including geographic coverage of the Mozambique channel, mix of habitats and resources, inclusion in prior prioritizations (e.g. marine World Heritage) and ‘control’ sites to these, presence of appropriate-sized villages (500-3,000 inhabitants), presence/absence of migrants, national prioritizations, and presence of local partners to facilitate in fieldwork and achieving impacts as a result of the project.

Study Sites:
Comoros, Madagascar, Mayotte, Mozambique, îles Eparses, Tanzania


Expected Results

i) Improving general/contextual knowledge of the Channel
ii) Revealing regional scale ecological connectivity in the Mozambique Channel
iii) Supporting future marine spatial planning and management policies in the Mozambique Channel
iv) Revealing the diversity of sea cultures and local perceptions across the Channel
v) Promoting local and regional environmental awareness and co-management of marine resources in the Mozambique Channel
vi) Improving governance and dialogue between local and regional level, promoting trans-boundary cooperation in the Mozambique Channel
vii) Improving awareness of the Mozambique Channel Heritage value in the public

Basic Facts

Duration: 36 months (October 2013 – September 2016)
Project Reference:
Budget: US$ 731 176
WIOMSA Contribution: US$ 397 176
Project Coordinator: Erwann Lagabrielle

Project Partners:

IRD (REUNION ISLAND), CORDIO (KENYA), Eduardo Mondlane University (MOZAMBIQUE), IHSM (MADAGASCAR), Ulanga Ngazidja (COMORES), University of Dar es Salaam (TANZANIA), UNESCO/Marine World Heritage (INTERNATIONAL)

Lead Institution: IRD (REUNION)
Year of Approval: 2013
Project Country: Kenya, Mauritius, South Africa, and Mayotte
Investigators: Erwann Lagabrielle, Catherine Sabinot, Salomao Bandeira, David Obura, Pascale Chabanet, Lala Ranaivoanana, Hachime Abderemane, Rosemarie N Mwaipopo, Estelle Crochelet, Gwenaelle Pennober, Estienne Rodary, Fanny Douvere, Bernard Surugue, and Daniel David
Study Sites:
Project Activities:

Participation planned to COASTGIS, ICAN7, Indian Ocean Conférence organized by the University of La Réunion and WIOMSA conference in 2015.



i) Lagabrielle E, Crochelet E, Andrello M, et al (2014) Connecting MPAs – eight challenges for science and management. Aquatic Conserv: Mar Freshw Ecosyst 24:94–110

Students Supported by the Project and Titles of their Projects
For more details about the project:

University of Réunion Island,
IRD UMR ESPACE-DEV, Parc Technologique Universitaire,
2 rue Joseph Wetzell, 97492 Sainte-Clotilde,
Phone: +33 262 48 33 56,
E-mail: erwann.lagabrielle@ird.fr