A new fisheries law enacted this month in Mozambique is being hailed as a landmark by conservationists. It seeks to empower communities and extend protection to an array of threatened marine species, including whale sharks, manta rays and dolphins. “This is a huge step for Mozambique; a huge step for organizations like us, and also for the communities,” said Emerson Neves, project manager at Marine Megafauna Foundation (MMF), one of the NGOs that lobbied for expanded protections. He added that implementing the law will be a lot of work. Conservation NGOs have been pushing for the inclusion of a comprehensive list of protected species in Mozambican law for decades. Talks around this revision of the national fisheries law began in earnest last year, and the new law was finally notified in October. The revised Regulamento da Pesca Marítima (REPMAR) signals a shift in emphasis toward sustainable fisheries rather than just increasing production. It also clears the way for co-management by communities. It is a significant piece of legislation in a country where seafood provides half of the protein intake for the population. More than two-thirds of Mozambique’s 30 million people live within 150 kilometers (93 miles) of the coast, and traditional fishers haul in nearly 90% of Mozambique’s annual catch. “If you enable and empower local communities, it can be a game-changer,” said Thomas Sberna, Kenya-based regional coordinator for the IUCN. “It’s absolutely necessary to have a law in place because otherwise, you cannot have enforcement or implementation.” But Sberna echoed Neves that…This article was originally published on Mongabay Läs mer