Home Institution

University of Richmond

Publication Date

Fall 2011

Program Name

Tanzania-Zanzibar: Coastal Ecology and Natural Resource Management


In the village of Jambiani, Unguja, a Swiss NGO called Marine Cultures has established an experimental sponge farming initiative to improve local employment and support economic development. Currently, the main farming site is only accessible through SCUBA diving. This is consistent with experimental farm sites in other oceanic regions, as most are located in depths of at least five meters with sponges suspended vertically to maximize water flow exposure. Farms located in shallower water may not be conducive to sponge growth due to highly variable environmental conditions; however, no conclusive research has been conducted on this matter (Duckworth 2009). Nonetheless, shallow farms could be beneficial, for they may be accessed through wading or snorkeling, eliminating the need for costly SCUBA certifications and swimming skills, both of which are impractical for local people. The feasibility of shallow sponge farming in Jambiani was investigated through the construction of a shallow test farm. By testing of three different farming treatments, conducting surveys for commercially viable sponges, and assessing aquaculture awareness and perceptions of local fishermen, it was determined that shallow sponge farming has definite potential for successful implementation within the region.


Aquaculture and Fisheries | Natural Resources and Conservation | Natural Resources Management and Policy | Sustainability


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