Project funding for the protection of Chumbe Island nature reserve

2020 has been a challenging year for Chumbe Island. The total collapse of tourism meant that 25 years of nature protected were threatened, as for the first time in the history of our privately funded marine park, we did not have any income from tourism to fund the park management, such as ranger patrols, their salaries and thereby supporting our rangers’ families. The risk of poaching increased and CHICOP was faced with severe economic challenges with direct effects on our staff and the communities we have been working with for so many years.

Luckily borders have reopened and Chumbe is welcoming tourists once again. However the impact of the crisis can still be felt, as we do not receive the same numbers of tourist as before. So we are very thankful to have been awarded specific project support for a project titled: “Protection of the Chumbe Island nature reserve from increased poaching threats due to COVID-19’s impacts on Zanzibar’s economy and Chumbe’s compromised park management, through the re-assignment of local rangers and skills development of youth fishers”. The project activities are possible due to the financial support of the European Union and the Organisation of African, Caribbean and Pacific States through the BIOPAMA Programme.

What does the project entail?

The following project activities will ensure that conservation management on Chumbe Island will continue, despite the fact that the eco-lodge still has limited bookings, and address the urgent threat on the marine park, Chumbe staff and local fishing communities:

–    Vital enforcement of a 55 ha no-take Coral Reef Sanctuary and a 17 ha Closed Forest Reserve and improvements in MPA patrols in order to safeguard Chumbe’s unique biodiversity and reduce the prevailing risk of wildlife poaching.

–    Continuous protection of crucial biodiversity for the East African region and preservation of Chumbe’s important function as a fisheries nursery ground benefiting fishing communities through spillover and restocking of adjacent fishing grounds.

–    Continued full-time employment of the experienced conservation team who will implement optimal patrol efficiency and monitoring.

–    Deployment of two additional security officers to assist with the enforcement and upholding of both protected areas during the worsening economic times.

–    Continuation of the environmental education program with key fishing communities, neighbouring Chumbe Island.

–    Skills development of local youth from key target fishing villages to be trained as rangers.

What will be achieved?

Whilst tourism is slowly returning, this project will allow for full patrol operations over the coming 12 months which will decrease poaching attempts inside the MPA and subsequently ensure that 25 years of successful conservation efforts are not lost. Eight Chumbe rangers will receive full-time employment for the whole project duration, each supporting on average 12 dependents in their local communities. Zanzibari community members from neigbouring fishing villages will gain knowledge and practical insights in nature conservation through Chumbe’s extensive environmental education program which will positively impact compliance to marine protected area regulations.

We will continue to share updates on the project progress on our website and our social media!


‘This website post has been produced with the financial assistance of the European Union and the Organisation of African, Caribbean and Pacific States through the BIOPAMA Programme. The contents of this document are the sole responsibility of CHICOP and can under no circumstances be regarded as reflecting the position of the European Union nor of the Organisation of African, Caribbean and Pacific States.’


The Biodiversity and Protected Areas Management (BIOPAMA) programme aims to improve the long-term conservation and sustainable use of natural resources in African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries, in protected areas and surrounding communities. It is an initiative of the Organisation of African, Caribbean and Pacific States financed by the European Union’s 11th European Development Fund (EDF), jointly implemented by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and the Joint Research Centre of the European Commission (JRC). Building on the first five years of activities financed by the 10th EDF (2012-2017), BIOPAMA’s second phase provides tools for data and information management, services for improving the knowledge and capacity for protected area planning and decision making, and funding opportunities for specific site-based actions.

Art work by Thara Vagic