This report explains the ecology and social profile of coastal systems in Kenya, Mozambique and Tanzania in order to contribute to the development of effective strategies to enhance the resilience of marine and coastal systems in the Western Indian Ocean. Special consideration is given to the effects and consequences of climate change and economic development.
Eastern Africa’s coastal habitats host rich marine biodiversity with more than 6,000 documented species. Six major rivers flow into the Western Indian Ocean (WIO): the Tana and Athi-Sabaki Rivers in Kenya, the Rufiji and Ruvuma Rivers in Tanzania, and the Zambezi and Limpopo Rivers in Mozambique. Their deltas are ideal nursery grounds and breeding areas for prawns, crabs, sea cucumber, snapper, emperor, grouper and several offshore commercially important tuna and mackerel. However, dams built upstream have reduced water flow and sediment and nutrient discharge to the coast. The resulting decline in productivity has had an adverse effect on fisheries.