Economic Constraints to the Management of Marine Protected Areas
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Eastern Africa contains an extensive network of marine protected areas (MPAs), stretching from the Red Sea states of Sudan, Eritrea and Djibouti, along the Indian Ocean coastline of Somaliland, Somalia, Kenya, Tanzania and Mozambique, and out to the Indian Ocean islands of Seychelles, Comoros, Réunion, Mauritius and Madagascar. Most of these MPAs have been gazetted because they contain species or habitats of particular interest, importance or conservation concern that are under threat in some way. The main threats to Eastern Africa’s MPAs arise from human economic activities. These include over-fishing and destructive fishing techniques (such as poison fishing, dynamite fishing and the use of small-mesh nets), the over-harvesting of other marine products (such as mangroves, shells, seabirds, turtles, marine invertebrates and mammals) and — particularly along the main coastal strip — the conversion and pollution of natural habitats resulting from land reclamation, shipping, ports, urban centres, tourist developments and industries such as prawn farming, salt production, oil and gas extraction. More recently, MPAs have also been affected by coral mortality due to the effects of El Niño and global warming.
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