Regional report « coral reef monitoring » - South West Indian Ocean Region – 2003 Annual Report
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AbstractThe coral reefs of the Indian Ocean are characterized by a high degree of endemic organisms and biodiversity. Over and above their global importance, they are revenue sources for the coastal and insular populations, and play an important role in coastal protection, in an area that is subjected to strong cyclonic activity. Coral reefs are present in the five member states of the IOC. They constitute a federative theme for the region, which justifies the need to develop a “reef monitoring action” through a “regional reef-monitoring network”. It was made clear during recent regional meetings that the reefs are subjected to very strong pressure due to human activities and natural factors (El Niño, massive coral mortality of 1998), and that their conservation requires urgent action. The degradation of the reefs and their effects show clearly that the conservation and restoration of the reef ecosystem should be linked to economic objectives (fishing, tourism, real estate), to public health (prevention plan), and of biodiversity conservation (national heritage). The creation of a regional network to monitor coral reefs in the South West Indian Ocean islands is initially based on an initiative of the Regional Environment Programme (1995-2000). This important regional programme was financed by the European Commission and undertaken by the Indian Ocean Commission. In 1999, this regional network was officially recognized as the “regional node” of the GCRMN (Global Coral Reef Monitoring Network) for the islands of the South West Indian Ocean region. In order to reinforce the national networks and to carry out reef monitoring activities, a programme funded for 3 years by the GEF (World bank) and the European Union has been put in place in 2001and it should continue till June 2005 thanks to a specific endorsement. Consequently, the need to monitor these ecosystems in time and space, and to put together usable databases for the integrated management of the reef zones represent a major priority for the insular states of the south west Indian Ocean. A systematic collection of information on the coral reefs is indispensable to help conceive concrete actions in conservation, management and sustainable use of the reefs, both at the member states and regional levels. The regional network federates the initiatives and national networks of the 5 member countries.
Publisher or UniversityWIO