Coral Reef Benthos and Fisheries in Tanzania Before and After the 1998 Bleaching and Mortality Event
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Surveys conducted in the 1980s and early 1990s indicated that coral reefs in Tanzania were being degraded by overexploitation and destructive resource harvesting practices, particularly dynamite fishing and the use of dragnets, with concomitant reduction in fish abundance. Despite reduction in dynamite fishing on most parts of the Tanzania coast, recent coral reef surveys (1999 and 2000) have indicated that live coral cover and the health of reef corals were further degraded by the 1998 coral bleaching event. The extent of coral mortality differed between areas and species. Although the relative contribution of some taxa such as acroporids and pocilloporids decreased on most reefs surveyed, there was no evidence of species extinction. Despite extensive coral mortality, there has been little evidence to suggest decline of reef fish abundance of commercial and artisanal fish catches. In many areas the dead reef structure has remained largely intact three years following the bleaching eve.....