Coral reef status report for the Western Indian Ocean (2017)

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This report provides an update to the regional sections in the Global Status reports publication by the GCRMN in 1999, 2000, 2002, 2004 and 2008. It is a joint output of the Global Coral Reef Monitoring Network (GCRMN), the Indian Ocean Commission, Coastal Oceans Research and Development in the Indian Ocean (CORDIO), the United Nations Environment’s Nairobi Convention Coral Reef Task Force and the International Union for the Conservatoin of Nature Species Survival Commission’s (IUCNSSC) Coral Specialist Group.

The Western Indian Ocean contains 16% of the world’s coral reefs, and the region is now thought to host the second hotspot of coral reef biodiversity globally. These coral reefs ecosystems underpin the economies of the countries in the region, particularly fisheries and tourism sectors, and provide livelihood opportunities and income for local communities. However local threats, e.g. from overfishing, and global threats, e.g. from coral bleaching, are all increasing exponentially with regional human population growth and development. It is the region that suffered the most from the previous global bleaching event in 1997- 98, in which 30-50% of corals were estimated to have died. It was also affected by what has been dubbed the “3rd global coral bleaching event” in 2016.

This report compiled summary data from participating monitoring programmes across 9 countries of the region – Comoros, France, Kenya, Madagascar, Mauritius, Mozambique, Seychelles, South Africa and Tanzania. The national chapters report on the state of coral reefs presently, impacts of the global bleaching event in 2016, and current information on pressures, management and policy responses relevant to coral reefs in each country. Following the model of the Caribbean report of 2014, it also includes regional synthesis chapters on the overall trends of reef health, the bleaching event in 2016, and on large scale drivers and projections for the region in the coming decades. The report will serve as a baseline for next steps in strengthening the GCRMN regional networks planned for 2017-2020, which will include improving data management and reporting processes, and developing options to open access to GCRMN data following international guidelines. This GCRMN regional report for the Western Indian Ocean is an output of the national, regional networks and the Nairobi Convention Coral Reef Task Force.



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