Hanna Gaertner


            Aquaculture has been presented as a means of income for coastal communities, particularly in the context of climate change and resource exploitation. The NGO Marine Cultures in Jambiani, Zanzibar has established a sponge cultivation program for women in response to declining feasibility of seaweed farming from warming ocean temperatures. In addition, the organization strives to restore a severely damaged reef while providing employment for coral farmers and tour boat operators. This study analyzed the influence of aquaculture on community stakeholders, primarily with respect to sponge cultivation and secondarily in regard to coral farms. Using Marine Cultures as a case study, the principal aim was to investigate the impacts of sponge farms on the lives of women, with supplementary examination of the coral project and potential for community benefit. Participant observation and interviews were employed to generate qualitative data about the farms themselves, Marine Cultures, and the individuals impacted, predominantly women sponge farmers. The results of the study were a holistic narrative of Marine Cultures, four biographical sketches (three sponge farmers and one coral farmer) and a clear representation of aquaculture’s benefits to individuals.