The development of Marine Parks and Reserves in Tanzania dates back to the 1960’s when surveys of marine habitats mainly reefs were conducted and
several sites legislated as marine reserves in the mid 1970s. However, no specific management and institutional mechanisms were put in place to effectively manage
the reserves apart from allocating the authority to the Department of Fisheries.
The desire by the villagers of Mafia district to establish a protected area in their waters in the late 1980’s rekindled the national interest
in the creation of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) in Tanzania. Subsequently, a number of baseline studies to investigate marine resources and their uses were conducted
in Mafia. The studies identified Mafia Island as a suitable site for the establishment of the first marine park in the country.
Beginning from 1990s the Government in collaboration with other key stakeholders worked seriously to ensure that the ideas of establishing Marine Parks
and Reserves in the country became a reality through development of the relevant law. In 1994 the legislation to specifically deal with the management and administration
of the Marine Parks and Reserve No 29, of 1994 was enacted by the Parliament. The Act provides for a legal framework for the conservation, management and wise use of marine
environment with its prolific animals and plant life. It also provides for all reasonable uses by fisher folks, commercial operators and holiday markers, scientists, divers,
photographers and reef watchers. Within the Framework of this legislation Mafia Island Marine Park was declared the First Marine Park in Mainland Tanzania in 1995.
Acting within the power entrusted to it by Act No. 29 of 1994, by then the Minister of Natural Resources and Tourism in 1996 appointed the Board of
Trustees for Marine Parks and Reserves as a semi-autonomous governing body responsible for the formulation of policies, management and administration of Marine Protected
Areas (MPAs) in the country. In 1999 five (5) marine reserves which were gazetted under Fisheries Act of 1970, were placed under the administration of MPRU.
Mnazi Bay–Ruvuma Estuary Marine Park (MBREMP) and Tanga Coelacanth Marine Park (TACMP) were gazetted as the second and third marine parks in 2000 and 2009, respectively.
Currently, there are three (3) marine parks and fifteen (15) marine reserves operating under MPRU.
Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) in Tanzania become the joy and pride for all.
To establish and manage Tanzania’s marine protected areas for sustainable use.
Let us share the gift of nature together
- Marine and Coastal resources are conserved for sustainable development.
- Communities are involved and participate fully in the management (conservation and sustainable utilization) of marine and coastal resources.
- Management of MPAs and delivery of high quality services from them is carried out efficiently.