Albion February 26, 2015 – The Indian Ocean Commission (IOC) organized a regional workshop for exchanges and training on coral reef monitoring at Albion Fisheries Research Centre, Mauritius, from 24 to 26 February. The IOC-Biodiversity and IOC-ISLANDS projects funded by the European Union and the IOC project for the sustainable management of coastal zones (GDZC) funded by the French Global Environment Facility (FGEF) have together united their efforts to improve coral reefs monitoring capabilities of some forty scientists, technicians, administrators and NGO representatives who participated in the workshop.
The IOC coral reefs workshop, has strengthened the coral reef monitoring capabilities through:
- Practical work. Participants in the workshop practiced scuba diving and snorkeling to test different methods of coral reef monitoring on the site of Albion. The collected data were entered in the new coral reefs information system (CRIS) to familiarize members of the network with the tool;
- The development of a 2015-2017 roadmap for the regional coral reefs network. This roadmap includes the drafting of a regional report on the health of the reefs in the region as part of the Global coral reefs status report coordinated by GCRMN (Global Coral Reef Monitoring Network).
The joint workshop was also attended by Dr Waruinge Dixon, head of the Nairobi Convention Secretariat, Mr. Jerker Tamelander, head of the Coral Reef Unit of the United Nations Environment Programme / GCRMN and Dr Nyawira Muthiga, chairman of the Regional Coral Reef Task Force established by the Nairobi Convention.
Coral reef monitoring is not only an ecological issue. Coral reefs are essential to many economic activities (fishing, tourism, coastal protection …). The region of East Africa and the Indian Ocean (AO-OI) is recognized worldwide as one of the richest areas in terms of endemic species in particular and marine and coastal biodiversity in general. However, coastal ecosystems in the the southwestern area of the Indian Ocean are under increasing threat due to human pressures exacerbated by the consequences of climate change. Given the socio-economic and ecological values of coral reefs and associated ecosystems, it is imperative to put in place adequate measures to prevent these massive destruction. It is in this context that the IOC mobilizes government and non-government organizations of the region within its “coral reef” network through its various projects.