Iran, Islamic Republic of
Artificial reefs to rehabilitate fisheries
About the Implementing organization
Name: Salakh Village Community
Country: Iran, Islamic Republic of
Year of establishment: 2002
Type of organization: Community-based association or organization, Community enterprise or business , Women’s association or organization, Indigenous group or organization, Youth group or association
Based on indigenous knowledge and with support from University of Tehran environmental design group and based on indigenous knowledge of local people, concrete pyramid shapes were designed. These structures were inexpensive, easy to make locally and relatively light to carry. They were also designed to maximize area for settlement of marine organisms. Strategically positioned holes in the concrete allowed for proper water circulation so currents and waves would not displace these “artificial reefs”. Even positions within the sea floor were discussed with locals. All pyramids were placed in areas shallower than 15m to ensure that floating nets used for large catch volume in deeper waters would not catch fish before rehabilitation occurred. As a result, a total of 150 pyramids were built, 80 installed within the first six months. A year later, an assessment showed greater numbers in fish and better water quality in and around the pyramids.
Type of Action
Restoration / Sustainable use / Awareness and education
Sustainable Development Element
Jobs and livelihoods / Food security / Renewable energy
The Salakh community-based project for rehabilitation of marine resources was a very good first step in reviving some of the fish populations and other marine organisms. It also engaged the local community in other conservation oriented projects in other villages such as Shibderaz, where local community got engaged in protection of the nesting ground of the Hawksbill turtle. Also in the nearby Hengam island, the local community started a dolphin watching project with support from GEF/SGP and an NGO. These network of projects gradually contributed to raised environmental awareness not only in the local communities but also in the Qeshm Free Authority and also the visitors of Qeshm Island. Therefore, one of the most important environmental impacts of community-based projects besides protection of biodiversity, was the awareness and training that was provided to the communities during project planning, implementation and monitoring.
Sustainable Development Impacts
Being exposed to the environmental impacts of degradation especially within the marine environment, the local communities of Qeshm Island very quickly started collaborating with outsiders such as active environmental NGOs and the GEF/SGP-Iran. As the projects moved forward and showed results, advocacy by local community increased. In fact, local women of Qeshm are now very much involved in environmental advocacy through Art for Conservation. Also the Environment Unit of Qeshm Free Authority is fully supportive of community-based initiatives which opens the way for community advocacy for environmental justice and further Climate Change solutions.
As Qeshm Geopark has expanded to include most of the island, most project areas are now officially part of the Geopark which provide a great opportunity for upscaling community-based project experiences. However, with new infrastructures in place there is a possibility also that the number of tourists will increase, which will generate more income for local communities through Art for Conservation initiative and other means. Therefore, women of Qeshm are now working as a network which is self run. It is hoped that with a sustainable income, a percentage of the sales will go towards
environmental education and conservation of the natural assets of the island to promote environmental values for future generations.
At present the mentioned project is being used as the first pilot in the country to promote fisheries through artificial reefs and it is being replicated by the Fisheries Organization (Shilat). In terms of womens handicraft and traditional needlework being used for Conservation Art, it is actually being replicated throughout the island and within the Qeshm Geopark, creating additional livelihoods for women and local communities.
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