The latest issue of Zwazo - Nature Seychelles bi-annual conservation magazine - is out! This issue that covered the period between July - December 2009 took a looking glass to the marine realm in the Western Indian Ocean (WIO). We were seeking to find out what was going on with species, habitats, coral reefs, protected areas, and people. Several thought provoking articles with news and issues from this region are the result.
The editorial starts on a positive note. Nirmal Shah, Nature Seychelles Chief Executive, states unequivocally that although alarm bells are being rang by scientists and conservationists on the state of our oceans, and both scientists and the media bring a litany of doom and gloom, our problems can be solved. Shah, who was recently elected as President of the Western Indian Ocean Marine Science Association (WIOMSA), urges scientists to "roll out solutions that answer to the challenges and at the same time grab hearts and minds and inspire people". People are becoming increasingly numb to problems without solutions, he says. This issue shows that there are matters that are in urgent need of attention. But at the same time, in some cases, there are answers at hand. Zwazo's articles are written by scientists who are proposing solutions based on field research as well as by managers who are experimenting with solutions on sites around the Indian ocean.
For instance, the development of whale and dolphin eco-tourism has significantly contributed to the East African region’s economy. Whale and dolphin tourism has now been initiated in most countries in the WIO region. It presents a potentially sustainable use of marine mammals as an economical viable alternative to hunting. It further improves people’s attitude toward the marine environment and promotes public support for conservation issues. But there are many changes that have occurred. People are no longer passive observers of whales and dolphin, and they no longer watch from afar. With this type of tourism becoming increasingly interactive and close-up, what do these changes mean for the wildlife and how have ecotourism guidelines evolved to meet these challenges? Per Berggren author of Whales and Dolphins – A field guide to marine mammals of East Africa tells us.
And what about coral reefs? An international team of scientists has found coral reef conservation in key regions can succeed and requires a variety of responses to successfully adapt to climate change. Tim McClanahan, in an article titled "How can we save our reefs from global warming?" says that the scientists also found that response will depend on the capacity of people, the stress of the environment, and the ecological condition of their reef resources. Failure to understand this context will result in wasted efforts, he says.
Meanwhile, the Mombasa Marine Park in Kenya, has embraced an adaptive management program that actively responds to challenges in the management of the park, while in Seychelles Jan Robinson tells us that co-management of small-scale fisheries can evolve.
These and more stories in the latest issue of Zwazo show us how science and research is being used to offer solutions to pressing challenges in the WIO region.
You can read the Zwazo here: http://issuu.com/natureseychelles/docs/zwazoissue20