Mafia District Commissioner Shaib Nnunduma told ‘The Guardian’ recently that to start with, a total of 300m/- has been allocated and issued to Mafia residents so that they can use it to set up new businesses.
Marine Park issued funds in- terms of groups in accordance with their needs and demands as it is revolving fund.
Among funds include a total of 40m/- which has been returned to Marine Park while the remained 260 million/-was still in the hands of borrowers who did not pay back the loans.
“It’s a time for Mafia residents wherever they are in Mafia District Council to use this opportunity because the funds are there for you so that you can embark on cashew- nut and coconut farming or fishing activities,” he said.
People keen to access funds from Marine Park in Mafia are required to visit its office and should be in groups so that they can benefit from these funds.
Many residents in Mafia Island are highly dependent on the natural resources of the area for food, shelter and income especially fishing activities.
Marine Park has decided to embark on this programme after discovered majority of Mafia residents are low-income earners and they depend on fishing activities so that to generate incomes and improve their livelihoods.
According to Marine Park report, Mafia Island was chosen as an ideal site for the Marine Park because its unique shallow waters provide ideal habitats for over 400 species of fish, 400 types of sponge, 200 algal types and other species, some yet to be identified.
The unique Mafia island ecosystem provides a vast array of larvae which are swept into The Indian Ocean, and carried northwards by the prevailing North East African Current ultimately adding to the rich diversity of marine life found as far north as The Red Sea.
The Park borders south-east Mafia Island and stretches over 700 square kilometres, encompassing six islands, Stretching from the top of Forbes Bay to the north and Tutia Reef in the south.
Circulating the entire park an 800m wide buffer zone exists, protecting the park from any detrimental practices such as commercial fishing and coral mining.
The park is patrolled by wardens, maintaining a permit system.
This enables these areas to be restricted, however, local fishermen and tourists alike, are permitted to enjoy the wonders on offer.
Currently Fishing rights are reserved for fishers resident within the park, using “traditional gear” such as hand-lines and fence or basket traps.
The zone is about 20 km² in size and is rich in coral reefs and sea grass habitats.