Ecologists, Scientists Partner to Save Coral Reefs in Tanzania

Marine scientists and ecologists have partnered in Tanzania to restore coral reefs along the Indian Ocean coast.

Coral reefs have been under threat due to blasting techniques used by fishermen.

Marine science researcher, Leonard Chauka says they have restored 10,000 square meters of degraded coral reefs. He said the initiative was given a new lease of life to most critical reefs to combat increasing climate pressures and human activities.

“The idea is to grow many of them to allow protection of reefs in wider area and corals long-term recovery,” he said.

A senior scientist at the Institute of Marine Sciences, University of Dar es Salaam, Flower Msuya also stated that the country was losing coral reefs at a fast pace which has the potential to impact the marine life.

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“We lose coral reefs so quickly that we could ever imagine, the impact to marine life and the livelihoods of people is big,” he said.

Besides playing a vital role in maintaining ecological balance, the colorful coral reefs also lure thousands of tourists every year.

“The corals take many years to grow and develop, it may take ages for those affected by blast fishing to recover,” said Msuya.

Scientists believe that these reefs, which form large underwater structures are composed of the skeletons of colonial marine invertebrates called coral.

She said that poor fishing methods and the rising sea temperatures are reasons behind fast depleting reefs across the coast of Tanzania.

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Urging the government to intensify marine protection, Msuya asked for curbing illegal fishing methods notably blast fishing, which has pushed the marine ecosystem to the brink of collapse.

Also known as underwater rainforests, the biodiversity hotspots dotting the coast of East Africa, offer crucial habitat to marine species and act as a buffer for the surging coastal storms, local scientists said.

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