The Cape Verde archipelago is a global marine biodiversity hotspot, supporting a wealth of emblematic and endemic marine species, including 17 species of whale and dolphin, more than 60 shark and ray species, and five species of marine turtle (including one of the three largest nesting populations of loggerhead turtles in the world). To date our work has focused on Maio, the closest island to the capital Santiago, which is under increasing pressure from tourism, coastal habitat destruction, and unsustainable and illegal fishing.

FFI and partners are tackling these threats by supporting a network of five marine protected areas around the island. The project recognises that there is significant dependence on marine resources on the island, and that there is insufficient local capacity to successfully manage these resources. We are addressing these issues with the full participation of local communities, through a series of awareness raising and livelihood diversification activities. Key initiatives include the Guardians of the Sea monitoring programme, which offers incentives to local fishers to report illegal activities in their fishing zones, and the development of a homestay programme to provide alternative revenue streams for village households.