Oceans Without Borders
Leaving our oceans a better place
Oceans truly have no borders
Oceans are the ultimate commons, connected by the salty waters that flow around the globe – a fragile blue expanse that connects us all, and on which we are all intimately dependent. But our oceans are increasingly threatened. Growing impacts and our dependence on our oceans requires us to join forces and forge meaningful collaborations that transcend borders, cultures, classes, and sectors. This intention to build alliances to catalyse positive change across our marine footprint, lies at the heart of Oceans Without Borders.
Oceans Without Borders is a unique collaboration between &Beyond – a luxury travel company with its roots in conservation and experiential guest experiences, and Africa Foundation – a non-profit organisation dedicated to community-led development and conservation of Africa’s natural environments. Bringing together broad expertise, and working intimately with coastal and island communities, OWB is dedicated to marine conservation and community development at sites where &Beyond and Africa Foundation operate, including in Africa, South Asia and South America.
Our blue impact to date
Extent of coastline impacted in southern and east Africa.
Turtle hatchlings on Mnemba & Vamizi Islands since 2001.
Plastic removed from Mnemba’s beaches per year.
Marine patrols conducted around Vamizi Island pa.
Green turtle nest monitoring on Mnemba Island.
Audio receiver stations deployed across our sites.
No water, no life, no blue, no green.
~ Sylvia Earle
What we aim to achieve
BASELINE MONITORING & RESEARCH
To facilitate baseline monitoring and world-class research in order to inform decision making and track progress
Critical to making progress in environmental conservation and sustainable development is knowledge. High-quality, relevant, and timely data are essential for knowledge-creation and for tracking progress, guiding decision making, and providing the basis for accountability.
Without reliable data we cannot know, for example, what the impacts of increasing water temperatures are on coral reefs; how habitat loss affects nesting sea turtles; whether our marine protected areas are achieving their goals; or how the livelihoods of coastal communities are impacted by loss of tourism revenue.
Our monitoring and research programs aim to establish rigorous methodologies, comprehensive baselines and long-term datasets that also contribute to other local, regional and global initiatives. By developing the facilities to support research at each of our sites, we offer the opportunity for international experts to work alongside local academic institutions, communities and other organisations, thereby creating a powerful synergy of education, conservation and research expertise.
With &Beyond and Africa Foundation’s long-term commitment to our field sites and local communities, we are uniquely placed to enable the types of long-term monitoring and research programmes, and community relationships that are essential for understanding environmental and social change over meaningful timescales, responding to potential threats and maximising our impact.
CARE OF THE OCEAN
To support the improved effectiveness of marine habitat conservation and the establishment or enlargement of Marine Protected Areas (MPA), seeking higher conservation status.
Marine Protected Areas (MPA) are the cornerstone of ocean conservation efforts worldwide. They allow for the protection of important sites including critical habitats, important breeding areas for different species and they serve as source areas for surrounding fishing grounds to promote a sustainable fish stock supply.
Habitats such as coral reefs are among the most biologically diverse of all of Earth’s ecosystems and are vital to the health of our oceans. Since our sites also host some of the richest coral reef systems in Africa and the Western Indian Ocean, they are a major focus of our work.
Our marine research and monitoring programmes, including marine habitat mapping, coral diversity studies, apex predator movements, and identification and monitoring of important breeding aggregations, aim to help better manage existing protected areas and identify which areas should be prioritised for better protection.
CARE OF THE WILDLIFE
Support the protection of iconic species.
Protecting marine ecosystems requires understanding the biology, behaviour and habitat needs of iconic and ecologically important species. Charismatic marine megafauna such as whales, turtles and sharks are also vitally important umbrella species for protecting marine habitats and less well recognised marine plants and animals.
Our research and conservation work focuses on a range of marine species in East Africa including projects on coral diversity and reef health, studies of the movements and biology of sharks and giant trevally, and other projects that focus on humpback whales, reef fish, and a range of terrestrial plants and animals that are found at our island sites.
Sea turtles are a particular focus and our efforts include some of the longest, continuously running sea turtle nest monitoring programmes in Africa. Five turtle species occur in the waters of eastern Africa, and each of our sites has an important part to play in the protection of these threatened species:
- Mnemba Island is one of the most important nesting sites for green turtles in Tanzania
- Vamizi Island is home to the oldest and only on-going turtle monitoring project in northern Mozambique, and is one of few hawksbill turtle nesting sites in the region
- Benguerra Island & the Bazaruto Archipelago is one of few places off Africa where all 5 turtle species occur
CARE OF THE PEOPLE
Through collaboration and coordination with local communities, facilitate community-lead development of sustainable marine resource use practices, and alternative revenue and food sources that reduce marine dependency.
For over 25 years working at the intersection of ecotourism, conservation and community development, support and investment in surrounding communities has been fundamental to the success and long-term sustainability of our projects. Our community partner, Africa Foundation, has played a central role in these projects, and is key to the success of our Oceans Without Borders initiatives.
On the coral-fringed coastlines of East Africa, subsistence fisher communities are the ultimate custodians of these diverse ecosystems. Through our ‘Care of the People’ objective, we endeavour to upskill and empower local communities, working closely with them to ensure shared value for marine conservation endeavours.
Learn more about our contributions to ground-breaking scientific research on the impacts of climate change and overfishing on nutrition and food security, and helping build resilient communities in the face of the Covid pandemic due to the loss of revenue from tourism.
Multiply positive impact on oceans globally through the engagement and education of &Beyond guests and collaboration with international initiatives.
Sharing knowledge through education, public engagement and collaboration is a cornerstone of our work. Our final objective aims to multiply positive impacts through our global reach.
In addition to active social media channels, we contribute to the global ocean conversation at various local and international events. The heart of our guest experience at &Beyond island lodges is our ocean conservation work, and visitors have the option to participate in citizen science projects such as &Beyond’s ‘Beyond the Sighting’ data capture initiative.
An important component of our ‘Global Reach’ objective also includes outreach and education among our local communities, with numerous school and community marine conservation engagement initiatives such as school field trips to the reef, movie nights, conservation lessons, and other events held at each of our island sites.
To learn more about what small steps you can make each day, wherever you may be, to protect our oceans and help leave them a better place, take our Oceans Without Borders Pledge!
Visit the OCEANS WITHOUT BORDERS website
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Help us leave the oceans a better place