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Coral Reef Management Status in UAE

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... Investigation in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi and the Eastern Cost of Qatar ... Map and assess the status of coral reef habitats in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi and ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Coral Reef Management Status in UAE


1
(No Transcript)
2
UAE Country Profile
Surface area 83,600 km2 (Abu Dhabi 87 of
total). Coastline 650 km (Arabian Gulf) 90 km
(Gulf of Oman). Population 4.1 million (2005
census Economy GDP (2002) US 65.9 billion
(Oil and natural gas 33.9). Coastal
Habitats Salt pans, sand flats, coral reefs, sea
grass beds, mangroves, tidal inlets.
3
UAE Coastal Characteristics
4
UAE Oceanographic characteristics
Monthly seawater temperatures for the waters of
the UAE (2002).
Chlorophyll-a concentration in UAE waters during
February 2002 (SeaWiFS oceanographic satellite).
Arabian Gulf Salinity 40 - 44 ppt, temp 20.9
34.2 oC Gulf of Oman Salinity 35 37 ppt, temp
23.1 25.0 oC
5
Natural constraints to coral reef development
(UAE-Arabian Gulf Waters)
  • Extreme temperature range anomalies (10-15
    yrs).
  • Extreme salinity range.
  • Extensive areas of unconsolidated carbonate
    sediments.
  • Scouring action by mobile sediments on limestone
    substrates.
  • High levels of suspended sediment.

6
Coral reef structure and developmentin UAE
  • Arabian Gulf
  • Poorly developed patch reefs dominated by
    Acropora and Porites (10 cover).
  • Fringing reefs around off-shore islands dominated
    by mono-specific stands.
  • Cycles of mortality, breakdown and re-growth
    inhibit framework accumulation.
  • Gulf of Oman
  • More favorable conditions for coral growth and
    reef development.
  • Relatively clear water and less extreme
    temperature and salinity ranges.
  • Greater species diversity, live coral cover and
    variety of growth forms.

7
Species Diversity (Hermatypic Corals) in the UAE
Family
Family
Acroporidae (8)
Dendrophyllidae(2)
Acropora valida
Turbinaria pelata
Poritidae (6)
Pocilloporidae(1)
Porites lobata
Stylophora pistillata
Siderastreidae (4)
Mussidae (1)
Pseudosiderastrea tayami
Acanthastraea echinata
(Photos Charlie Veron)
Faviidae (12)
Total 36 species (Arabian Gulf waters)
Favites pentagona
8
Distribution of coral reefs in the UAE
9
Value and uses of coral reefs in the UAE
  • Support fisheries.
  • Provide recreational services eg. diving and
    snorkeling.
  • Tourism (generation of foreign exchange).
  • Storm surge and coastal erosion protection
    (off-shore islands).
  • Critical habitats essential for the maintenance
    of biodiversity.
  • Scientific value (especially given existence in
    an extreme environment).

10
Monitoring and Assessment(1)
Jebel Ali Marine Sanctuary
  • A coral reef monitoring program has been
    maintained in the Jebel Ali Marine Sanctuary
    since 1995 by the Dubai municipality.
  • Techniques used include side-scan sonar, video
    mapping, remote sensing and acoustic seabed
    mapping. Survey area 37.7 km 2.
  • Surveys have enabled the assessment of 2 coral
    bleaching episodes during 1996 and 1998.
  • Concise maps have been produced for management
    planning and monitoring purposes.

11
Monitoring and
Assessment(2) Marawah Marine Protected Area
  • A synoptic survey of the Marawah MPA (5,561 km2)
    revealed the distribution and species composition
    of corals over a large area off the coast of the
    Emirate of Abu Dhabi.
  • However, the survey was only implemented in order
    to establish areas of high conservation value as
    part of the initial effort to designate the MPA.

12
Monitoring and Assessment(3)
Marine biotope monitoring off Abu Dhabi
  • Natural History Museum of the UK carried out a
    monitoring program of marine biotopes in the
    waters off Abu Dhabi.
  • Surveys covered 2 catastrophic bleaching events
    during 1996 and 1998 which were associated with
    prolonged positive seawater temperature
    anomalies.
  • Surveys are no longer on-going.

13
Monitoring and Assessment
(4) Marine macro-fauna surveys
  • MERC of the Environment Agency Abu Dhabi (EAD)
    conducts aerial surveys for dugongs, turtles,
    dolphins and marine macro fauna in the waters of
    the Emirate of Abu Dhabi.
  • Whilst the survey is not specifically designed to
    monitor coral reefs it does record habitat type
    along transects, the categories used include
    seagrass, corals and sandy bottom.
  • Additional data collected of relevance to reef
    monitoring includes the pressure on habitats
    (number of vessels, fishing nets observed, oil
    pollution and turbidity).

14
Monitoring and Assessment
(5) Miscellaneous coral reef associated research
monitoring programs The Marine Environmental
Research Center of EAD implements the following
monitoring and assessment activities Fish
population dynamics Fisheries resource
assessment, catch and effort monitoring and
fisheries management (includes reef associated
species). Fishing gear investigations Developme
nt of escape panels to prevent 'ghost fishing'
and reduce the retention of juvenile
fish. Phytoplankton blooms Phytoplankton
monitoring in the coastal waters of Abu
Dhabi. Sea turtles Satellite tagging, nesting
surveys, rearing and release. Oceanography Coas
tal water circulation/drifter buoy study.
Marine Protected Areas MPAs management,
planning, surveillance and enforcement and
justification of other opportunities in marine
and coastal areas of Abu Dhabi Emirate. Coral
reef project
15
Monitoring and Assessment
(6) CORAL REEF PROJECT
Title Coral Reef Investigation in the Emirate of
Abu Dhabi and the Eastern Cost of Qatar
Sponsor Dolphin Energy
Client / Coordinator Environment Agency Abu
Dhabi (EAD) and SCENR-Qatar
Management EWS-WWF Technical Investigator
NCRI-Florida-USA
16
Project Goal
CORAL REEF PROJECT
  • To develop and advance the conservation,
    management and sustainable use of coral reefs and
    associated habitats in the waters off the Emirate
    of Abu Dhabi and Qatar, through the provision of
    accurate biological, ecological and
    socio-economic information.

17
Project Objectives
  • Provide specific tailor made monitoring and
    assessment approaches to the unique env. of AD
  • Map and assess the status of coral reef habitats
    in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi and Qatar
  • Investigate biodiversity of corals, and
    associated habitats / Spp.
  • Establish baseline conditions for long term
    monitoring
  • Ensure compatibility with int. initiatives of
    coral monitoring
  • Evaluate alternative approaches to rehabilitation
  • Develop capacity building of UAE/Qatari research
    personnel for long term monitoring
  • Propose a conservation and management strategy
    for implementation by state authorities.

18
Project Outputs
  • Study of the distribution, status and threats to
    coral reefs within Abu Dhabi/Qatar
  • Atlas and coral reef identification guide
  • Coral reef conservation and management plan
  • Solid scientific base for further development by
    EAD/SCENR
  • Opportunities for media awareness campaigns
  • Capacity building

19
CORAL REEF PROJECT Training
  • Field
  • Ground truthing
  • Coral reef identification
  • Classroom
  • Remote sensing
  • Coral reef evolution and life forms
  • Field
  • Sediment sampling
  • Cover

20
CORAL REEF PROJECT
Results of Resource Assessment for Coral Reefs at
the Offshore Islands of Abu Dhabi
21
Arzanah Island
  • 51 sites evaluated, of which 11 showed coral
    growth.
  • The densest coral growth was found on the western
    side of the islands. The coral community was in
    the very early phases of regeneration.
  • Coral cover was between 1 and 5.
  • Coral species encountered were
  • Platygyra daedalea, Platygyra lamellina
  • Favia pallida, Porites harrisoni
  • Porites lutea, Cyphastrea microphthalma
  • ? Psammocora. sp., Acropora clathrata (40 cm
    diameter)
  • Corals are healthy and no diseases were observed.
    The relatively uniform size distribution of
    corals suggests that all originated from sexually
    produced gametes of an upstream source

22
Das Island
  • A total of 27 sites were evaluated, of which 5
    showed coral growth.
  • The coral community was in the very early phases
    of regeneration.
  • Coral cover was around 1.
  • Coral species encountered were
  • Platygyra lamellina , Favia pallida
  • Porites harrisoni
  • The few observed corals appeared to be of good
    health and no diseases were observed.
  • The relatively uniform size distribution of
    corals suggests that all originated from sexually
    produced gametes of an upstream source.

23
Diyenat Island
  • 31 sites were evaluated, of which 17 showed coral
    growth.
  • The coral community was in early phases of
    regeneration.
  • Coral cover was around 1.
  • Coral species encountered were
  • Platygyra lamellina, Favia pallida
  • Porites harrisoni, Porites lutea
  • The observed corals are healthy and no diseases
    were observed.
  • The relatively uniform size distribution of
    corals suggests that all originated from sexually
    produced gametes of an upstream source

24
Qrnen Island
  • 31 sites were evaluated, of which 17 showed coral
    growth.
  • The coral community was in the very early phases
    of regeneration.
  • Coral cover was between 1 and 5.
  • Coral species encountered were
  • Platygyra lamellina, Favia pallida
  • Cyphastrea microphthalma, Turbinaria reniformis,
    Pseudosiderastrea tayamai, Plesiastrea versipora,
    Porites harrisoni, Porites lutea
  • The observed corals are healthy - no diseases
    were observed.
  • The relatively uniform size distribution of
    corals suggests that all originated from sexually
    produced gametes of an upstream source

25
Zarkawh Island
  • 2 sites were evaluated, of which 11 showed coral
    growth.
  • The densest coral growth was found on the
    north-western side of the islands.
  • The coral community was in the very early phases
    of regeneration.
  • Coral cover was between 1 and a maximum of 5.
  • Coral species encountered were
  • Platygyra daedalea, Platygyra lamellina
  • Favia pallida, Porites harrisoni
  • Porites lutea, Cyphastrea microphthalma
  • Acropora clathrata (small recruit)
  • Corals were all healthy - no diseases were
    observed.
  • The relatively uniform size distribution of
    corals suggests that all originated from sexually
    produced gametes of an upstream source

26
Al Hil Island
  • 6 sites were evaluated, all of which were
    situated within a dense coral biostrome and of
    which 3 showed coral growth.
  • The coral community showed all the signs of
    serious mortality suffered during the previous
    thermal stress events
  • Coral cover was between 1 and 5 and this was the
    sight with the strongest Acropora recruitment of
    all sites.
  • Coral species encountered were
  • Platygyra daedalea, Platygyra lamellina
  • Favia pallida, Porites harrisoni
  • Porites lutea, Cyphastrea microphthalma
  • Acropora clathrata, Acropora arabensis
  • Corals were all of good health and no diseases
    were observed

27
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28
Significance of findings
  • Results show clear signs of the coral systems
    resilience in the face of what was likely the
    strongest disturbance of the century
  • Despite three marked thermal anomalies and their
    associated coral mass mortality, the reefs are
    not dead and show very active signs of
    regeneration.
  • So far, no extinctions have yet been identified,
    however, overall coral biodiversity still remains
    depressed and coral coverage of available
    substratum remains at record low levels.
  • The observed corals bear clear evidence of a
    fertile upstream seeding population and active
    spread of sexual propagules throughout the
    region.
  • There is no evidence for asexual increase in
    coral populations yet, largely because the
    colonies are still too small
  • The active recruitment and reproduction indicates
    that remaining corals are good health. Thus,
    there is hope for a full recovery of the coral
    systems.

29
Project Progress
30
Institutional Framework for Coral Reef
Conservation in UAE
31
Conservation and Management Initiatives for Coral
Reef Conservation in UAE
Federal Laws eg. no. 23, 1999 on the
Exploitation, Protection and Development of
Living Aquatic Resources in the UAE. Federal
Law no. 24 for the Protection and Development of
the Environment. Decrees eg. Decree no. 1 of
June 1995 demarcating coral reef areas on the
East Coast for protection. International
Conventions CITES, CBD etc. Management Action
Plans Regional Regional Action Plan for the
Conservation of Coral Reefs in the Arabian Seas
Region (ROPME Sea Area) Kuwait Action
Plan National eg. Environmental Strategy and
Action Plans for the Emirate of Abu Dhabi.
(EAD). Marawah Marine Protected Area
Management Plan.
32
Conservation and Management InitiativesMPAs
33
Threats Management Issues
Bleaching Coral mortality (up to 98) following
bleaching events associated with increases in the
frequency and prolongation of positive seawater
temperature anomalies. Note diversity in the
Jebel Ali Wildlife Sanctuary reduced from 34 to
27 species following the 1996 bleaching event.
Crown of Thorns periodically abundant on East
Coast reefs where they have caused extensive
damage. Disease Yellow-band, Black-band and
white band diseases present and prevalence maybe
increased by anthropogenic stressors.
34
Threats Management Issues
35
Threats Management Issues
36
Threats Management Issues
Effects of fishing eg. by-catch
37
Conclusions
  • The coral reefs of the UAE have cultural,
    economic and scientific value.
  • Threats are primarily derived from positive
    seawater temperature anomalies, hyper-saline and
    thermal cooling water discharges, dredging and
    landfill, urban refuse and the effects of
    fishing.
  • 3. Coral reef monitoring activities in the UAE
    started in 1995. Monitoring has relied on
    international expertise highlighting the need for
    national capacity building.
  • There are a variety of conservation and
    management initiatives being implemented by NGOs
    as well as local/federal government institutions
    and international organizations. (Legislation,
    strategic action plans, MPAs, education and
    awareness campaigns etc.)

38
Acknowledgement Bernhard Riegl and Samuel Purkis
(NCRI, Florida) Thabit Zahran, Suad Al Harthi,
Mohamed Jassim, Hamad Al Mazroei, (EAD, UAE)
Nasser AL Shaiba (EHS,Dubai Ports) EWS-WWF Dolphi
n Energy
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