Coral reefs are the most bio-diverse marine ecosystem, holding over 25% of known marine species while they occupy less than 0.2% of the ocean's surface. Worldwide, they provide a plethora of vital ecosystem services from coastal protection, through food provision, fisheries, tourism, bio molecule of pharmaceutical interest, to cultural and educational value. Coral reefs generate 2.7 trillions USD annually and close to a billion people depend directly on them for their livelihoods.
Mozambique has important tropical coral reefs with part of the Northern Mozambique Channel, included in the second global hotspot for reef biodiversity, and an important centre of climate adaptation. These reefs are among the best preserved of the region and globally, however, they also face major threats from global stressors, such as climate change and ocean acidification, but also from local pressures, mainly unsustainable coastal fishing, industry and development. More than ever, there is a need for action.
In collaboration with its Government counterpart, the National Fisheries Research Institute (IIP), WCS works with other national stakeholders to develop a National Strategy and Action Plan for Coral Reef Conservation. This aims to implement actions that will allow the effective management and conservation of coral reefs in Mozambique, such as the revival of a national coral task force, the implementation of a national coral reef monitoring program, the mapping of the country's reefs, the promotion of coral reef research and education, the development of an inter institutional coordination mechanism, and the integration of coral reef zonation within the Marine Spatial Plan. Through different initiatives, WCS is mapping and establishing baselines at important areas for coral reefs, supporting the establishment of Marine Protected Areas to increase the conservation of this ecosystem and helping to develop nacional standard indicators for the assessment of coral condition.