On 13th September 2017, MRCI signed a Data Sharing Agreement with Coastal Oceans Research and Development Indian Ocean (CORIO), East Africa for the purposes of reporting about the impact of the 2016 coral bleaching event in the Western Indian Ocean (WIO) region, in order to facilitate the 2017 WIO post-bleaching report.
MRCI have shared their historical coral reef health monitoring data from all of their survey sites to go towards this initiative. The overarching aim is to promote a culture of free and open access to data, which in turn will ensure that the best available data informs research, policy development, decision making and management.
In addition, MRCI, in collaboration with existing partner organisation, Centre Nationale Researche Oceanographique (CNRO) based in Nosy Be, have agreed to also become part of The Coral Reef Task Force, providing information and updates on the health status of the coral reefs in our region.
Look forwards, the MRCI marine program is creating their own coral bleaching survey in accordance with CORDIO’s methodology, and will be working to continue to provide CORDIO with vital coral reef survey data to go towards Indian Ocean Commission’s future research Initiatives.
Background: Combating Coral Bleaching
The Indian Ocean Commission’s 5-year Biodiversity Program has contributed to ensuring more effective, coherent and collective biodiversity management in line with international and regional agreements and priorities for sustainable development in the island and coastal states of Eastern and Southern Africa and the Indian Ocean.
In 2016, the Biodiversity project supported an initiative to gather coral bleaching data from across the WIO for the 2016 GCRMN coral status report. In order to get a full picture of the impact of the 2016 bleaching event on the WIO, the Biodiversity project is supporting post-bleaching surveys in six countries in the region under the Coral Reef Task Force (CRTF) (Comoros, Kenya, Madagascar, Mauritius, Seychelles and Tanzania).
The action will respond to the call launched by the International Coral Reef Initiative (ICRI) to enhance global efforts to assess the impacts of the 2016 coral reef bleaching event. The Coral Reef Task Force (CRTF) was established under the Nairobi Convention to coordinate coral reef activities in the Convention region, and non-beneficiary WIO countries (France, Mozambique, South Africa, Somalia) can participate through this. To improve the effectiveness of this initiative, national datasets will be expanded by incorporating data from partners that have conducted/will conduct their own post-bleaching surveys.
Date: 21st November 2017
MRCI Marine Science Manager: Emma Bagnall