Coral Reef Conservation Project

Mombasa, Kenya

Coral Reef Conservation Project

Mombasa, Kenya
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Cinner J.E.,James Cook University | Daw T.M.,University of East Anglia | Daw T.M.,University of Stockholm | McClanahan T.R.,Wildlife Conservation Society | And 8 more authors.
Global Environmental Change | Year: 2012

Communities are increasingly empowered with the ability and responsibility of working with national governments to make decisions about marine resources in decentralized co-management arrangements. This transition toward decentralized management represents a changing governance landscape. This paper explores the transition to decentralisation in marine resource management systems in three East African countries. The paper draws upon expert opinion and literature from both political science and linked social-ecological systems fields to guide exploration of five key governance transition concepts in each country: (1) drivers of change; (2) institutional arrangements; (3) institutional fit; (4) actor interactions; and (5) adaptive management. Key findings are that decentralized management in the region was largely donor-driven and only partly transferred power to local stakeholders. However, increased accountability created a degree of democracy in regards to natural resource governance that was not previously present. Additionally, increased local-level adaptive management has emerged in most systems and, to date, this experimental management has helped to change resource user's views from metaphysical to more scientific cause-and-effect attribution of changes to resource conditions. © 2012 Elsevier Ltd.

Ateweberhan M.,University of Warwick | McClanahan T.R.,Coral Reef Conservation Project | McClanahan T.R.,Wildlife Conservation Society | Graham N.A.J.,James Cook University | Sheppard C.R.C.,University of Warwick
Coral Reefs | Year: 2011

Long-term changes in coral cover for the Caribbean and the Pacific/Southeast Asia regions (PSEA) have proven extremely useful in assessing the main drivers, magnitude and timescales of change. The one major coral reef region where such assessments have not been made is the Indian Ocean (IO). Here, we compiled coral cover survey data from across the IO into a database of ~2,000 surveys from 366 coral reef sites collected between 1977 and 2005. The compilation shows that the 1998 mass coral bleaching event was the single most important and widespread factor influencing the change in coral cover across the region. The trend in coral cover followed a step-type function driven by the 1998 period, which differs from findings in the Caribbean and the PSEA regions where declines have been more continuous and mostly began in the 1980s. Significant regional variation was observed, with most heterogeneity occurring during and after 1998. There was a significant relationship between cover and longitude for all periods, but the relationship became stronger in the period immediately after 1998. Before 1998, highest coral cover was observed in the central IO region, while this changed to the eastern region after 1998. Coral cover and latitude displayed a significant U-shaped relationship immediately after 1998, due to a large decrease in cover in the northern-central regions. Post-1998 coral cover was directly correlated to the impact of the disturbance; areas with the lowest mortality having the highest cover with India-Sri Lanka being an outlier due to its exceptionally high recovery. In 1998, reefs within Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) were more heavily impacted than unmanaged reefs, losing significantly greater total cover. MPA recovery was greater such that no differences were observed by 2001-2005. This study indicates that the regional patterns in coral cover distribution in the IO are driven mainly by episodic and acute environmental stress. © 2011 Springer-Verlag.

Wild C.,Leibniz Center for Tropical Marine Ecology | Hoegh-Guldberg O.,University of Queensland | Naumann M.S.,Center Scientifique Of Monaco | Colombo-Pallotta M.F.,MAR Systems | And 10 more authors.
Marine and Freshwater Research | Year: 2011

Coral reefs are among the most diverse and productive ecosystems on our planet. Scleractinian corals function as the primary reef ecosystem engineers, constructing the framework that serves as a habitat for all other coral reef-associated organisms. However, the coral's engineering role is particularly susceptible to global climate change. Ocean warming can cause extensive mass coral bleaching, which triggers dysfunction of major engineering processes. Sub-lethal bleaching results in the reduction of both primary productivity and coral calcification. This may lead to changes in the release of organic and inorganic products, thereby altering critical biogeochemical and recycling processes in reef ecosystems. Thermal stress-induced bleaching and subsequent coral mortality, along with ocean acidification, further lead to long-term shifts in benthic community structure, changes in topographic reef complexity, and the modification of reef functioning. Such shifts may cause negative feedback loops and further modification of coral-derived inorganic and organic products. This review emphasises the critical role of scleractinian corals as reef ecosystem engineers and highlights the control of corals over key reef ecosystem goods and services, including high biodiversity, coastal protection, fishing, and tourism. Thus, climate change by impeding coral ecosystem engineers will impair the ecosystem functioning of entire reefs. © CSIRO 2011.

Cinner J.E.,James Cook University | McClanahan T.R.,Wildlife Conservation Society | Graham N.A.J.,James Cook University | Daw T.M.,University of East Anglia | And 6 more authors.
Global Environmental Change | Year: 2012

Coral reefs support the livelihood of millions of people especially those engaged in marine fisheries activities. Coral reefs are highly vulnerable to climate change induced stresses that have led to substantial coral mortality over large spatial scales. Such climate change impacts have the potential to lead to declines in marine fish production and compromise the livelihoods of fisheries dependent communities. Yet few studies have examined social vulnerability in the context of changes specific to coral reef ecosystems. In this paper, we examine three dimensions of vulnerability (exposure, sensitivity, and adaptive capacity) of 29 coastal communities across five western Indian Ocean countries to the impacts of coral bleaching on fishery returns. A key contribution is the development of a novel, network-based approach to examining sensitivity to changes in the fishery that incorporates linkages between fishery and non-fishery occupations. We find that key sources of vulnerability differ considerably within and between the five countries. Our approach allows the visualization of how these dimensions of vulnerability differ from site to site, providing important insights into the types of nuanced policy interventions that may help to reduce vulnerability at a specific location. To complement this, we develop framework of policy actions thought to reduce different aspects of vulnerability at varying spatial and temporal scales. Although our results are specific to reef fisheries impacts from coral bleaching, this approach provides a framework for other types of threats and different social-ecological systems more broadly. © 2011 Elsevier Ltd.

Mbaru E.K.,Coral Reef Conservation Project | Mbaru E.K.,Kenya Marine and Fisheries Research Institute | McClanahan T.R.,Wildlife Conservation Society
Fisheries Research | Year: 2013

There is increasing effort to develop fishing methods that increase sustainability of the fishery and reduce bycatch without sacrificing the incomes of fishers. Consequently, we explored the use of modified African basket traps (experimental traps) retrofitted with 4. cm. ×. 30. cm escape gaps and compared their catches with those from unmodified traps lacking these gaps (controls). Studies were undertaken in a heavily fished Kenyan coral reef lagoon dominated by sand, seagrass, and coral reef. Of the 1202 fish captured, we distinguished 64 species from 23 families with significant differences in catch composition between the two trap types. Among the bycatch, numbers of butterflyfish and other low value species were reduced in the experimental traps. Overall, at the trap level, there were no significant differences in terms of mean length, weight and value of the target species. Nevertheless, fish captured in experimental traps were 31% longer and 55% heavier and a decline in the capture of low value species accounted for the lack of difference at the whole trap level. Due to a strong size-price relationship in this fishery, there was a 25% increase in the economic value of the gated compared to control traps. © 2013 Elsevier B.V.

Wamukota A.W.,Coral Reef Conservation Project | Cinner J.E.,James Cook University | McClanahan T.R.,Wildlife Conservation Society
Marine Policy | Year: 2012

In many parts of the world, inshore marine resources are being increasingly managed through collaborative arrangements between communities, governments, civil society and other groups. However, co-management of fisheries has had a mixture of successes and failures. Theorists and applied researchers have suggested a series of preconditions or factors thought to improve the chances of successful common-pool resource management. These include common property institutional design principles and their contextual conditions. Using a variety of web-based English keyword searches, published literature on community-based management and co-management of coral reefs was systematically reviewed with the view of determining if and how studies were evaluating these management systems as well as the extent to which critical aspects of common property theory were investigated and tested. Based on a screening of 600 and full evaluation of 157 journal articles, four measures of ecological conditions and five measures of contextual condition improvement were examined or could be evaluated with the data presented in 38 papers, which examined 49 co-management projects. Fewer than half of the 49 studies met the inclusion criteria of the analyses for documenting key design principles or contextual conditions. Additionally, most projects did not systematically report on contextual conditions, common property design principles and measures of success. The analysis demonstrates the large theoretical and empirical gaps in the evaluation of these management systems and begs for a more scientific, critical and multivariate approach. © 2011 Elsevier Ltd.

Cinner J.E.,James Cook University | Cinner J.E.,Wildlife Conservation Society | McClanahan T.R.,Wildlife Conservation Society | Wamukota A.,Coral Reef Conservation Project
Marine Policy | Year: 2010

The socioeconomic conditions in nine communities of the Kenyan coast were examined to test the hypotheses that socioeconomic characteristics and knowledge about the sea differ for: (1) fishers compared to non-fishers; and (2) fishers living adjacent to parks compared to fishers living away from parks. Compared to non-fishers, fishers were poorer, had higher occupational diversity, more participation in community decision-making, and higher scores on six dimensions of knowledge about marine resources. Fishers living adjacent parks had lower occupational diversity, higher fortnightly expenditures, greater knowledge of the effects of land-based pollutants and market demands than non-park fishers. These relationships may, however, be a result of urbanization near Kenya's marine parks, rather than the marine parks' effect on fishers' knowledge and livelihoods. Consistent with studies from other parts of the world, this study finds that there are aspects of Kenyan fishers' socioeconomic conditions and knowledge about the sea that characterize them as distinct from non-fishers. Initiatives designed to improve the socioeconomic conditions of fishers or to manage fishery stocks need to understand and account for these differences. © 2009.

McClanahan T.R.,Wildlife Conservation Society | Abunge C.A.,Coral Reef Conservation Project | Cinner J.E.,James Cook University
Environmental Conservation | Year: 2012

Increasing the chances that resource users engage in and comply with management regulations is a continual problem for many conservation initiatives globally. This is particularly common when resource users perceive more personal costs than benefits from specific management actions. Analysis of interviews with managers and fishers from 22 landing sites along the coast of Kenya indicated how key stakeholders perceived the scale of benefits and costs from different management strategies. Potential underlying causes of divergent perceptions towards different management tools were evaluated, including marine protected areas, no-take fisheries closures, gear use, minimum size of fish caught and species restrictions. The analysis identified three distinct opinion groups: (1) a group of nine landing sites that scaled their preference for most management restrictions neutral to low, with exceptions for minimum sizes of captured fish and gear restrictions; (2) a group of eight landing sites that scaled their preference for the above and species restrictions and closed season higher, and were more neutral about closures and marine protected areas; and (3) a group containing four landing sites and the managers' offices that rated their preference for the above and closed areas and marine protected areas as high. Logistic regression was used to examine whether these groups differed in wealth, education, age, perceptions of disparity in benefits, dependence on fishing and distance to government marine protected areas. The most frequent significant factor was the resource users' perceived disparity between the benefits of the management to themselves and their communities, with the benefits to the government. Consequently, efforts to reduce this real or perceived disparity are likely to increase adoption and compliance rates. Most widespread positively-viewed restrictions, such as gear use and minimum size of fish, should be promoted at the national level while other restrictions may be more appropriately implemented at the community level. © Foundation for Environmental Conservation 2012.

McClanahan T.R.,Wildlife Conservation Society | Kaunda-Arara B.,Moi University | Omukoto J.O.,Coral Reef Conservation Project
Fisheries Management and Ecology | Year: 2010

Catch composition, relative abundance and diversity of fish catches in open access and three old fisheries closures were compared and contrasted with previous ecological studies. There was less variation in catch community composition among the fishing grounds than the closures, suggesting that fishing has homogenised catch composition. The trap survey found that some parrotfish [. Leptoscarus vaigiensis (Quoy &Gaimard), Calotomus carolinus (Valenciennes) and Scarus ghobban Forsskål] were relatively more common and that some important predators of macro-invertebrates [. Balistapus undulatus (Mungo Park) and Cheilinus chlorourus (Bloch)] were less common in the fishing grounds than closures. Unexpectedly, and in contrast to visual census results, cumulative number of species in catch surveys was higher in open access than closures sites. This may result from fishers covering more area and habitat or a reduction in the catch of competitively subordinate and rare species by aggressive, early-caught fish that can dominate bait. Comparisons of ecological visual census surveys and fisheries-dependent methods indicated that small differences in catch composition can reflect larger ecological differences and that baiting methods can underestimate biodiversity. Ecological impacts of fishing and large-scale changes in marine ecosystems must be considerable given the many fisheries-dependent assessments report modest changes. © 2010 Blackwell Publishing Ltd.

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