The East African coast has the second longest barrier reef in the world, stretching from the coast of Somalia along Kenya to southern Tanzania. A large share of these coastal reefs are situated in Kenyan waters where they support fishing and tourism industries. As most African countries, Kenya faces a fast growing population. Its inhabitants have a generally limited awareness and low commitment to sustainable practices resulting in evident and increasing detrimental impact on the coastal ecosystem.
Generally, local fishing methods are far from sustainable. The increasing environmental pressure from population growth can be counter balanced by initiatives that stimulate more sustainable use of coral reefs. This also will enhance the resilience of the reefs and its role in coastal protection. This includes improving the coral reef quality by setting up sustainable coral nursery and facilitating reef restoration. It also involves the introduction of less detrimental fishing methods combined with creating an increasing awareness of the local people.
To reach that purpose, the East African coast needs support for Coral Restoration Projects. Not only will the restoration of coral reefs attract tourists and overseas attention to the matter, such projects will also increase the local awareness and result in sustainable protection of the reefs by the local people. Development of new fish enhancement zones close to villages will teach and encourage the residents to take better care of the treasures they have in their waters.
The Reefolution Kenya restoration project has three main objectives:
Support local fishermen
The supply of hard corals by nurseries with optimal growing conditions can lead to a fast restoration of damaged sites. This can create new habitat and nurseries for fish and therefore enhance fish populations. Healthy fish stocks in the marine park as well as in the Wasini channel will benefit the local fishermen.
Create learning and job opportunities
Besides the ecological advantage of replanting corals, coral restoration can also facilitate learning and job opportunities. Fishermen can be involved in the setup and maintenance of the nurseries, providing an alternative income for them. It can also increase local awareness of the importance of a healthy reef system. To raise awareness, it is important to start the project close to Shimoni village. Creating an interesting shallow reef here will be of educational value to the local residents.
Even though tourists can be damaging to a coral reef, they will provide additional income for Shimoni citizens. Creating a healthy reef outside the marine park can attract tourists, thereby releasing the pressure from the Marine Park. It will also create an easy accessible beautiful reef nearby for training dives.The project activities started in Autumn 2015, when the first coral mariculture structures were deployed in the Shimoni area. Currently, several students from Wageningen University are involved in the project. Reefolution Kenya is locally supported by the dive school Pilli Pipa, represented by Harm and Selina Lutjeboer and Yatin Patel. Netherlands-based REEFolution Foundation is the main organizer of the project.
The project activities started in Autumn 2015, when the first coral mariculture structures were deployed in the Shimoni area. Currently, several students from Wageningen University are involved in the project. Reefolution Kenya is locally supported by the dive school Pilli Pipa, represented by Harm and Selina Lutjeboer and Yatin Patel. Netherlands-based REEFolution Foundation is the main organizer of the project.