Nilza Catarina from Maputo begins her one-year Fellowship with the Marine Megafauna Foundation

The Marine Megafauna Association (AMM) has announced the appointment of its latest Mozambican Fellow: Nilza Catarina, 23, from Maputo.

As part of the program, Nilza will receive training, one-to-one guidance and mentoring from renowned scientific advisers based at AMM’s research headquarters in Tofo, Mozambique, as well as leading international universities. She will have the opportunity to work alongside AMM scientists, as well as international interns and volunteers, to deliver priority research projects which will inform conservation strategies and influence future protection policies.

In the coming weeks Nilza will begin swimming lessons and, once she is confident in the water, will undertake her PADI Open Water scuba diving certification. She will learn how to collect underwater data to further the charity’s research and will work with the team on a scientific monitoring program to assess fishery stocks and the health of the reef ecosystem.  This will involve profiling of the families involved in fishing practices in the area to find out more information about their backgrounds, motivations and their catch levels to inform shark and ray conservation programs. She will also be involved in evaluating the impacts of temporary reef closures.

Talking about her appointment, Nilza said: “I am excited to be helping MMF in their mission to protect marine megafauna and working closely with all the teams. The protection of charismatic but vulnerable animals like manta rays and whale sharks is very important because to lose any species is to lose a part of our planet.”

AMM’s post-graduate Fellowship program has been developed as a way of offering talented Mozambican graduates experience in the marine conservation field. AMM believes that working with Mozambican graduate students, national institutions and communities is a vital way to ensure its projects can expand and continue sustainably in the future. Nilza will be the organization’s second chosen Fellow; the first successful Fellowship having been completed by Jorge Sitoe in May 2018.

Mariana Coelho, AMM’s Mozambique Country Director, said: “We’re excited to welcome Nilza to the team as our newest research Fellow. We received many high-quality applications for the position and we were really impressed with Nilza’s expertise, motivation and talent. She will be involved in several important projects that will help AMM progress its vital work into marine conservation while equipping her with skills and experience to progress her career. Welcome, Nilza!”

For more information about AMM, please visit: www.marinemegafauna.org.

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For more information, images or an interview with Nilza Catarina or a MMF spokesperson, please contact: media@marinemegafauna.org

About Marine Megafauna Foundation:

MMF’s vision is a world in which marine life and humans thrive together and we aspire to attain it by saving threatened marine life. Our target group is marine megafauna, which is vital to the delicate balance of the marine ecosystem. When we protect ocean giants, we also achieve an umbrella protection for a wide variety of marine species. Consequently, we target coastal communities that represent the biggest threat to these species and, as a result, to their own food security. Through our 4 pillars, we provide an integrated solution: by using our research findings to educate and inspire the masses, we gather the necessary tools to provide sustainable marine conservation strategies for communities and policy makers to bring about lasting positive change. Finally, by empowering, informing and giving a voice to local communities, we help to create a generation of Ocean Ambassadors and Guardians, who cherish and understand the marine ecosystem.

For further details, please see www.marinemegafauna.org or follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. For information about our local projects, you can also follow our Western Indian Ocean Facebook page