Marine Ecosystem Diagnostic Analyses (MEDAs)

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The following country report begins with an overview of coastal livelihoods in Comoros, which provides a concise overview of the seven sector reports and the findings of the in-country and regional consultants. This overview ends with a conclusion which summarizes the collected information as it relates to the coastal zone in Comoros in general.

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The overall objective of this project is to develop specific spatial data products at regional scale, for the coastal and/or marine areas of all the western Indian Ocean countries, including South Africa, Mozambique, Tanzania, Kenya, Somalia, Comoros, Seychelles, Madagascar, Mauritius and France. This report summarizes the data products, which have been prepared, on the basis of their relevance to the Large Marine Ecosystems (LME’s). The preparation of these data products involved retrieval from various sources, spatial analysis and modelling, and scaling.

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Restoring, maintaining and conserving the ecological integrity of the Agulhas Somali Current Large Marine Ecosystem (Figure 1) while ensuring optimal and sustainable utilization of the resources has been identified as a priority (Obura et al., 2012), especially with regard to the development of policy for the establishment of transboundary Marine Protected Areas (MPAs). This task requires knowledge of the spatial distribution of the physical and biological patterns and processes than sustain marine biodiversity in the region (Lombard et al. 2007; Sink and Attwood 2008).

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Coastal resources refer to the natural resources found in coastal areas, which is useful for human today or in the coming future, these include fish, shellfish, marine mammals, seabirds and other marine organisms (seaweed, coral reefs) land, forests, coastal waters and wetlands, sand minerals, among others (Walters, 1998; Jin, 2002). These resources are crucial and important and the benefits provided by them are both widely recognized but poorly understood by the majority (Daily, 1997).

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Deteriorating quality of the coastal waters of the ASCLME region poses a significant threat to public health as well as to the health of its living marine resources and ecosystems – and thus also to the economy to which fisheries revenues, for example, contribute US$943 million annually (ASCLME). The sources of pollution which contribute to this deterioration include both land-based and marine and maritime related activities.

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The purpose and overall objective of this project is to calculate the total economic value of the marine and coastal resources in both Mozambique and South Africa and to assess the impacts of implementing a sustainable use policy for the region. These individual country reports on the value of the coastal and marine resources will be collated with the various other country assessments of the same nature to create a single ASCLME regional report.