Lake Niassa Declared a Reserve

Mozambique’s Lake Niassa has officially been declared a reserve by the Government of Mozambique. The declaration will help protect the species and natural habitats of one of the largest and most biologically diverse freshwater lakes in the world and provide security to the people who depend on the lake for their food and livelihoods.

Collaborative efforts to protect Africa’s third largest lake
WWF worked with the Government of Mozambique, USAID, The Coca-Cola Company and local communities to:

  • monitor illegal fishing and overfishing
  • monitor erosion and deforestation
  • manage fisheries
  • mitigate the impacts of climate change

Did you know?

Locals call Niassa the “calendar lake” because it is 365 kilometers long.  

This work continues and WWF also helps provide more effective fishing nets to local people at a reasonable cost. This is made possible by working with the research arm of the Mozambican fisheries ministry to educate fishing communities about the benefits of larger nets for sustainable fishing and offering “gear swaps” to put legal fishing nets in the hands of the people.

Lake Niassa, the third largest and second deepest lake in Africa, spans 3,369,776 acres and is 2, 297 feet deep. The area under protection covers 118,100 acres which connects to a buffer zone of another 220,600 acres.

What is Ramsar?

The Convention on Wetlands, signed in Ramsar, Iran, in 1971, is an intergovernmental treaty which provides the framework for national action and international cooperation for the conservation and wise use of wetlands and their resources. Learn more

The Government of Mozambique also approved the designation of Lake Niassa as a Ramsar site. The site includes the reserve and surrounding wetlands and watershed.

Influence from local communities
Local communities were instrumental in the declaration and made several commitments to protect their main source of food and income. They agreed to:

  • Closure of all fishing rivers during spawning season for lake salmon and other species
  • Complete protection of the Chambo spawning beds during breeding season
  • The creation of a team of community rangers responsible for enforcement of existing laws on  illegal fishing, timber cutting, illegal migration, mining and piracy 

Learn more about Mozambique and Coastal East Africa