Status Of Coral Reefs In Eastern Africa: Kenya, Tanzania, Mozambique And South Africa
Eastern African coral reefs were severely impacted by the El Niño Southern Oscillation of 1997-98, with bleaching and mortality levels varying from <1% in South Africa to 80% and greater on reefs in northern Tanzania and Kenya. Recovery of affected reefs to 2002 has been poor to moderate, and patchy. Reefs strongly impacted by the El Niño that had high coral diversity and cover have recovered to less than one quarter of pre-bleaching coral cover. However, some high diversity reefs that escaped the bleaching impacts have remained healthy, with high coral cover and diversity. Degraded reefs outside Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) that were severely damaged by the El Niño have generally recovered to 50-100% of pre-bleaching coral cover. Recruitment of corals to reefs has also been moderate, with highest levels recorded on those protected reefs with high coral cover and diversity. In 2001-02, there has been additional damage to Eastern African reefs from threats that may be related to climate-change, including floods in Mozambique, Harmful Algal Blooms in Tanzania and Kenya, and an unknown fungal disease of corals in Kenya and northern Tanzania. Anthropogenic threats to Eastern African reefs cited in the 1998 and 2000 global reports continue, including over-fishing, destructive fishing, pollution, and sedimentation from construction and coastal development, mining and shipping activities. Socio-economic studies of coral reefs are becoming increasingly common in Eastern Africa, and include the development of socio-economic monitoring under GCRMN. While socio-economic losses from coral mortality from the 1998 bleaching event were predicted, particularly in fisheries and tourism, these have not yet been seen. MPA management in the region has benefited from increased national and international attention. Improvements include further development of management plans, identification of priorities and tools for improving management, and increased networking among MPA sites, regional and international organisations, and countries. With regional increases in levels of co-management of MPAs and fisheries, there are expanding efforts to develop coral reef and fisheries monitoring programs that are community based and participatory, and that contribute to regional level reporting and assessments of coral reef condition.
- Miscellaneous