, Volume 43, Issue 8, pp 1006-1019
Date: 28 Dec 2013

Intertidal Zone Management in the Western Indian Ocean: Assessing Current Status and Future Possibilities Using Expert Opinions

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Abstract

This expert opinion study examined the current status of the intertidal zone in the Western Indian Ocean (WIO) and ranked and discussed future management approaches. Information was gathered from scientists, practitioners, and managers active in the WIO region through a questionnaire and a workshop. The experts stated that the productive intertidal environment is highly valuable for reasons such as recreation, erosion protection, and provision of edible invertebrates and fish. Several anthropogenic pressures were identified, including pollution, harbor activities, overexploitation, and climate change. The experts considered the WIO intertidal zone as generally understudied, undermanaged, and with poor or no monitoring. The most important management strategies according to the expert opinions are to develop and involve local people in integrated coastal zone management (ICZM), to increase knowledge on species–environment relationships, and to develop awareness campaigns and education programs. To improve coastal environmental management and conservation, we argue that the intertidal zone should be treated as one organizational management unit within the larger framework of ICZM.