Reefs at risk

 
Last Updated: Saturday 04 July 2015

The detrimental effects of dynamite fishing, use of seine nets and coral mining are telling on Tanzania's coastal reefs. To reduce the damage, the Tanzanian government has commissioned environmental experts to evaluate the destruction and propose resurrection measures.

The government's National Integrated Coastal Management Policy got underway in April 2003 to collate the views of those living or working along the country's coast, in order to build a foundation of scientific knowledge. To begin with, specialists are analysing activities along the Tanga Region coast, about 250 kilometres north of the capital, Dar es Salaam. The officials also held a workshop in the area to train swimmers to become reef monitors who can differentiate between damaged and healthy ones.

Dynamite fishing, in practice for more than 40 years, causes the maximum harm to coral reefs. Each blast kills all living organisms within a 15-to-20-metre radius and completely destroys reef habitat in that range. The damaged reefs usually take many decades to recover and, in some cases, fail to survive.

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