Centro de Desenvolvimento Sustentável das Zonas Costeiras
Rodrigues et al. (1999). Reef Monitoring in Mozambique. I: The Monitoring Program and 1999 Report.
MICOA initiated a project for the development of a National Coastal Zone Management Programme (NCZMP) for Mozambique in conjunction with a number of institutions and donors. The programme encompasses the entire coastal zone and is multi-disciplinary in its approach. One aspect will address the ecosystems of which the coastal environment is comprised such as coral reefs. A management plan is consequently being formulated for the coral reefs within the NCZMP.A new development arose concurrently with the above, viz. the increasing problem of regional coral bleaching associated with global warming and climate change. The 1997-1998 El Niño southern oscillation (ENSO) caused elevated sea temperatures that resulted in the most severe occurrence of this phenomenon. This precipitated a Sida/Sarec funded programme on Coral Reef Degradation in the Indian Ocean (CORDIO). Mozambican scientists and international collaborators are participating in the programme which is giving added impetus to the national research effort on coral reefs (Appendix I). A preliminary survey has been completed (Schleyer, et al. 1999) and the present report covers an extension of the early work and the commencement of that associated with the NCZMP.
The objectives of the coral reef monitoring programme form a sub-component of the Mozambique Coral Reef Management Programme and part of the activities of the Sida CORDIO project. They are to:
q Monitor the occurrence of further coral bleaching, COTS and other natural/human disturbances; q Monitor the biophysical impacts of coral mortality; q Develop effective measures for sustainable management of the coral reefs and potential restoration of damaged reefs; q Develop alternative pilot activities for the fishing communities affected by coral degradation.
The sites selected are representative of different reef environments: some are protected, some are over-utilised, some lie in embayments and others are exposed to oceanic conditions.
Mozambican reefs manifest a great biodiversity. Many are degraded from bleaching and the ravages of crown-of-thorns starfish. There is evidence of recovery on some reefs in which soft corals are emerging to be primary colonisers. Degraded reefs recolonised by algae have a preponderance of herbivorous fish and reefs subjected to fishing pressure only have fish in the smaller size classes. There is clearly a need for ongoing monitoring.
There is a need for more detailed studies in some areas to better improve the monitoring programme. Regions such as the Quirimbas Archipelago, Nacala, Mozambique Island, the Primeiras and Segundas Archipelago, Bazaruto Archipelago and Ponta do Ouro are considered priority areas.
Preliminary results show that reefs in protected areas are in much better condition. Few are protected considering the length of Mozambique coastline. Protected areas comprise important sources of invertebrates and fish larvae for adjacent harvested areas. The fact that nearly no turtles and hardly any large fish were seen on the surveyed reefs provides an important sign of the need for management measures. The growth of tourism and diving in this country must also be taken into consideration. There is thus, an urgent need for the establishment of more protected areas and sanctuaries as shelters of biodiversity and breeding reservoirs.