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CORAL REEF TASK FORCE WORKSHOP ON
“CORAL REEFS AND CLIMATE CHANGE IN THE WESTERN INDIAN OCEAN (WIO)”

8-9 April, 2011
Nairobi, Kenya

Background information
The Western Indian Ocean (WIO) is a biogeographic subdivision of the Indian Ocean stretching from the coast of East Africa to the banks of the Mascarene Plateau. The WIO region has a rich diversity of marine and coastal ecosystems dominated by coral reefs that cover approximately 7000 km2 of the coastal area.

The coastal and marine ecosystems of the WIO provide food and income for millions of people as well as other goods and services of strategic importance to national economies.  These ecosystems however are increasingly becoming degraded due to human induced threats such as destructive and over exploitation, habitat loss, pollution and climate change.  These impacts may in turn impair the capacity of these ecosystems to recover from natural or human induced changes and hence reduces their ability to provide the goods and services that an increasing coastal population depends on.  This is especially critical in the WIO where coastal communities have a high dependency on marine resources and low institutional capacity to address adverse changes to the environment.

Coral reef ecosystems are amongst the most susceptible to climate change and in addition, more than 50% of the coral reefs of the Indian Ocean have been classified as at risk from human induced impacts.

The coral reefs of the Indian Ocean were severely impacted by coral bleaching during the 1998 El Nino-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) that resulted in 0 - 95% mortality of corals depending on location.

Although the global increase in atmospheric CO2 and temperature are projected to cause more frequent and more severe coral bleaching events, variability in oceanographic conditions, the influence of monsoonal seasonality, and differences in topography, oceanography and coral communities and taxa responses to coral bleaching complicate the ability to predict the trajectory of environmental changes in the WIO. This makes it difficult to predict which reefs are most vulnerable and which are more resilient to climate change and therefore the areas most suitable for management interventions.

Marine resource management in the WIO has increasingly depended on marine protected areas and the number of MPAs in the WIO increased in the 1980s to number more than 100. Most of these MPAs are focused on coral reefs and were established to manage disturbances such as over-fishing, tourism and land-based pollution.  Few of these MPAs were selected based on an ecosystem-based approach or the predicted impacts of climate change and yet this is likely to be the greatest threat to coral reefs in the near future.

There is an urgent need for management tools that address the complex interaction between environmental variability, management interventions and biodiversity in coral reefs. A model has been developed that maps the distribution of environmental conditions in the WIO based on several variables including sea surface temperature, wind velocity, UV, currents, and PAR that affect corals. 

The model showed that the northern Indian Ocean has been very stressful to corals and that the least stressful area was located from southern Kenya to northern Mozambique across to the northern Madagascar (Figure 1; see main page). 

The model allows the identification of sites that have the potential to survive climate change.  The model shows that many of the MPAs that are currently managed as no-take zones in the WIO lie within the high vulnerability area indicating that these reefs are highly susceptible to climate change. Surveys at 40 sites (Appendix 1) have supported the models findings showing areas of high biodiversity in environmentally less vulnerable sites.

Apart from identification of spatial differences in environmental susceptibility, management strategies should also take into consideration the socioeconomic, cultural and institutional environment that may support or impede management effectiveness. 

In a previous study in the WIO, socioeconomic surveys were carried out on 29 communities and an index of adaptive capacity was calculated. A framework that incorporates environmental susceptibility and social adaptive capacity is now available for the WIO.  These two tools, the coral reef vulnerability model and the analytical framework for social adaptive capacity and environmental vulnerability for coral reefs provide a scientific basis for prioritizing conservation and management action to prepare for climate change.

Many countries of the WIO are signatories to the Nairobi Convention, the Convention on Biological Diversity and the Framework Convention on Climate Change amongst others and have committed to improve the management of coastal and marine resources as well as increase the coverage of MPAs within their territories in the next decades.  Enhanced management of coastal and marine resources is of strategic importance to the economies and livelihoods of the peoples of these nations and require national attention.

National presentations outline
Participants from each country are requested to prepare a presentation on the coral reefs of their countries. The presentations serve as a general background about the coral reefs of each nation including the spatial extent, threats, status and management interventions. Each country as 10 minutes to make a brief presentation based on the following topics:

  • Spatial extent of coral reefs (include a map)
  • General description of the main threats to coral reefs
  • The status of coral reefs
  • Describe management interventions including
    • Research, monitoring and data availability and management
    • Fisheries interventions
    • Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) including community managed areas and ICZM
    • Community interventions
    • Training and awareness interventions

5. Describe any existing policies related to coral reefs including on Climate change and coral reefs


Appendix (1) Table of Coral reef survey sites in the WIO Region
(refer to Figure 1 for locations)

Label

Country

Reef

Site

1

Kenya

Mpunguti

Mpunguti

2

Kenya

Kisite

Kisite

3

Tanzania

Zanzibar

Changuu

4

Tanzania

Zanzibar

Chapwani

5

Tanzania

Zanzibar

Chumbe

6

Tanzania

Dar es salaam

Mbudya

7

Tanzania

Dar es salaam

Bongoyo

8

Tanzania

Mafia

Mange 2

9

Tanzania

Mafia

Kitutia

10

Tanzania

Mafia

Mange 1

11

Tanzania

Mtwara

Mtwara

12

Mozambique

Vamizi

Light House

13

Mozambique

Vamizi

Kisirwa Nkunga

Pangapanga

14

Mozambique

Vamizi

point

15

Mozambique

Vamizi

Pangapanga

16

Mozambique

Pemba Bay

Baobab edge

17

Mozambique

Pemba Bay

Londo

18

Mozambique

Pemba

Shallows

19

Madagascar

Nosy Sakatia

Nosy

Nosy Sakatia

20

Madagascar

Tanikely

Nosy Tanikely

21

Madagascar

Tampolo

Ambodiforaha

22

Madagascar

Tampolo

Antalaviana

23

Madagascar

Tanjona

Ankarandava

24

Madagascar

Masoala

Passe d'Antsoapatsoapa

25

Madagascar

Masoala

Passe d'Ambatomikaopaka

26

Madagascar

Masoala

Ankoalambanona

27

Mozambique

Silvia shallow

Silvia shallow

28

Madagascar

Rano Be

Coral garden

29

Madagascar

Rano Be

South pass

30

Madagascar

Rano Be

Beantsisy

31

Madagascar

Rano Be

False pass

32

Mozambique

Zambia pinnacle

Zambia pinnacle

33

Madagascar

Toliara Grand Reef

Ankolatse

34

Madagascar

Toliara Grand Reef

Ambatobe

35

Mozambique

The creche

The creche

36

Mozambique

Mike's cupboard

Mike's cupboard

37

Mozambique

Etienne's pinnacle

Etienne's pinnacle

38

Mozambique

Zambezi's breakfast

Zambezi's breakfast

39

Mozambique

Lagoa pinnacle

Lagoa pinnacle

40

Mozambique

Virginity reef

Virginity reef


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