Coral reefs and their management in Tanzania
Coral reefs are very important in Tanzania, both ecologically and socio-economically, as major fishing grounds and tourist attractions. Numerous fringing and patch reefs are located along about two-thirds of Tanzania’s coastline. These reefs have been partially to severely degraded by human (primarily destructive fishing practices) and natural (particularly coral bleaching) causes. These immediate human causes have been brought about by various socioeconomic root causes, particularly poverty and lack of proper management. After decades of human and natural impacts there has been only limited reef recovery. This paper presents a region-by-region analysis of trends in the condition of coral reefs in Tanzania in relation to the causes of damage. While earlier approaches to management were aimed at non-use of coral reefs in marine protected areas (seldom achieved), recent approaches have aimed at integrated coastal management (ICM) (whether in programs or conservation areas), where zonation into core protected areas and multiple-use areas is based on participatory decision-making involving fishing communities and other stakeholders. Some management initiatives also involve communities in reef monitoring, restoration and ecotourism. This paper examines the management approaches and strategies implemented by various ICM programs, conservation areas and marine parks in Tanzania. It also provides recommendations for further research and coral reef management strategies.