Regional State of the Coast Report

Western Indian Ocean

image of Regional State of the Coast Report

The Regional State of Coast Report for the western Indian Ocean (WIO) is the first comprehensive regional synthesis to provide insights into the enormous economic potential around the WIO, the consequential demand for marine ecosystem goods and services to match the increasing human population, the pace and scale of environmental changes taking place in the region and the opportunities to avoid serious degradation in one of the world’s unique and highly biodiverse oceans.



Summary of other human activities in the coastal and marine environment

The Western Indian Ocean (WIO) offers a wealth of opportunity for the profitable and beneficial use of coastal and marine resources – a prospect for a true ocean economy. These benefits are derived from a range of human activities in the coastal and marine environment. Shipping moves, by a large margin, the bulk of the goods to the region, through many of the ecosystems described in this book. The region is also a source of, amongst others, fossil fuels for the generation of energy, and minerals for manufacturing and other uses. These extractive and non-renewable resources offer substantial economic benefit, if the negative environmental and social impacts can be mitigated. Coastal land as a resource allows for development, settlement and recreation opportunities, but is also a source of biodiversity and ecosystem services. These services contribute to the wellbeing of coastal communities. Urbanisation and coastal development result in permanent conversion of this resource and often the loss of most of the freely provided ecosystem goods and services. The exploitation of WIO genetic resources is a largely unexplored opportunity for the benefit of the regional and indeed the global population. Furthermore, the attractive and desirable coastal and marine habitats of the WIO, a non-extractive and renewable resource, are the basis for a growing tourism industry in the region.


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