Maputo, Mozambique, 1 July – The Ponta do Ouro Marine Reserve, in the south of Mozambique, is to be given World Heritage status by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in December of this year, the Mozambican Tourism Minister said.
Fernando Sumbana told Mozambican news agency AIM, at the end of a meeting with his South African and Swazi counterparts that the decision aimed to protect and conserve marine species such as turtles, whales and dolphins.
The Mozambican tourism minister said that contacts were being made with the communities of Ponta do Ouro in order to ensure that granting the area this status foe not affect their way of life considering that fishing is the main source of income for local people.
According to Sumbana, the World Heritage site will bring more tourists to the region.
The ministers from the three countries, who met on the island of Bazaruto in Mozambique’s Inhambane province, also discussed the creation of a protected area for wild animals linking the parks of Tembe, Futi and the Maputo Reserve and decided that it can be set up in June, 2009.
The project aims to separate rural communities in the three areas from areas where wild animals live, particularly elephants.
Sumbana said that there were material and financial conditions in place to move ahead with the project and a study was already underway to install a fence to separate the two areas. (macahub)