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Regional State of the Coast Report

Western Indian Ocean

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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.

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Coral and biogenic reef habitats

Coral reefs are among the best-known marine habitats in the WIO. They are found throughout the region where rocky substrata occur between about 0 and 50 m depth, and water clarity and quality are adequate to give them a competitive edge through their symbiosis with zooxanthellae living within their tissues. The distribution of coral reefs in the WIO is relatively well known, comprising four main classes of reef: fringing reefs are found around all the islands and along the East African coast; barrier reefs are most strongly developed at Tulear (Madagascar) and around Mayotte (which also has a second/inner barrier within its lagoon); atolls are found in the Seychelles (eg Aldabra, Cosmoledo, Farquhar, Alphonse) and Mozambique Channel (Europa, Bassas da India and the submerged atolls of Zélée and Geyser); and numerous coral banks, such as those along the continental coastline (eg at Malindi, Kenya; Leven and Castor, NW Madagascar; Africa Bank, Mozambique), and the very large oceanic banks of the Mascarene Plateau (Cargados Cajaros, Nazareth and Saya de Malha), and the North Seychelles Bank.

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