LocationLocated in off the coast of Kenya, in Eastern Africa, Mombasa Marine National Park and Reserve is 487 km away from Nairobi, the capital city of Kenya (KWS, 2016). Located in the marine national reserve, Mombasa Marine National Park is 10 km2 while the National Reserve is 200 km2 (KWS and CCA, N. d.).
- Latitude: 3˚58’ and 4˚04’S
- Longitude: 39˚40’ and 39˚54’E
Scientific BasisDue to the sensitivity of the ecosystems, and the endemic and endangered species found in the protected areas and the negative impacts of human influence, Mombasa Marine National Park and Reserve became protected.
Coral ReefThe fringing reef that is found in the national park and reserve, extends the entire length of the tow areas, where three types of coral have been found: Acropora, Turbinaria, and Porites (Kaggikah, 2015). This coral reef is critical for the economy of the fisherman and locals (KWS and CCA, N. d.), where the spillover of the reef allow fishermen to continue their occupation, and tourism brings another source of income for locals through souvenirs and ecotourism of the reef. With the level of protection and status of fish population before the development of the Mombasa Marine National Park, as well as, the recovery rate of coral bleaching after the El Niño in 1998, the park is richer in marine life than the reserve (KWS and CCA, N. d.). As for Mombasa Marine National Reserve, this area has been heavily overfished, which has allowed the population of sea urchin to increase from the lack of predators (KWS and CCA, N. d.). With this increase, it has suppressed the fish population and slowed the recovery rate of damaged coral. However, if fishing is to be reduced or eliminated, there is a possibility of sea urchin impact on the coral reef will decrease (KWS and CCA, N. d.).
Seagrass BedsThese marine flower plants are found in the submerged lagoon of the marine national park. In this area, there are seven different types of seagrass: Thalassia hemprichii, Thalassodendron ciliatum, Halophila stipulacea, H. ovalis, Halodule uninervis, Cymodocea rotundata, and Syringodium isoetifolium (KWS and CCA, 2016). In this ecosystem, there are six different types of sea urchins that have become a major threat due to lack of predator, much like the coral reef (KWS and CCA, N. d.). Also, human influence like increase sediment input from the destruction of Mangroves, and pollution deposits has negatively impacted the seagrass beds (KWS and CCA, N. d.).
BeachesIn the last 10 to 20 years, there has been an increase in tourism. With the increase of visitors, there has been a drastic amount of development along the beaches for hotels and concrete walls (KWS and CCA, N. d.). Due to this, the erosion of the beaches has increased, which has been negatively impacting the sea turtle nesting grounds within the area (KWS and CCA, N. d.). As a result of decreased nesting grounds, the population of the sea turtle have also decreased, especially Green Sea Turtles, to the point where they have become endangered (KWS and CCA, N. d.).
Endemic and Endangered SpeciesIn the Mombasa Marine National Park and Reserve, there are a variety of endemic and endangered species. Some of these marine species are:
- Sea Turtles (Leatherback, Green, Hawksbill, Loggerhead, and Ridley)
- Dolphins (Spinner, Humpback, and Bottle-nosed)
- Exotic tropical fish (Bluefin Kingfish, Blue and Green Parrotfish, Striped Zebra fish, Butterfly fish, and the Leopard Moray)
In KenyaSince all protected areas, both marine and terrestrial, are under the jurisdiction of the country, the country overall has objectives in the protection of its marine areas. When observing the objectives of the marine protected areas (MPA), according to the country, the marine protected areas are not only for conservation and research use, but also for tourism and the livelihood of the local communities (Tuda and Omar, 2012).
Objectives of Conservation of the Reef System and Fisheries
- To enhance marine biodiversity and enhance sustainable fisheries that is associated with the coral reef
- Mainly protected the benthic habitat-forming organisms that have been impacted directly by fishing
- Through monitoring and active management, results have shown that protection from resource use has drastically improve the quality of coral habitats
- Due to this, fish population has increased significantly in the last 10 years, leading to spillover, and improving the fishing economy (Tuda and Omar, 2012).
In MombasaIn Mombasa, the national park and reserve have similar objectives to the country, however, these objectives are more specific to the area.
- To protect a representative sample of the coral reef, mangrove and seagrass ecosystem
- To restore and rehabilitate damaged marine ecosystem
- To ensure that activities within the MPAs are controlled and conform to the management regulations for ecological sustainability
- To enable stakeholders to participate in a wide range of eco-friendly recreational activities
- To implement zoning as a management tool in order to eliminate conflicts between user
- To enhance and encourage management oriented research for optimum resource use and to ensure information flow to stakeholders to allow better understandings of management decisions
- To provide an information base for education and awareness programmes for local communities (Muthiga, N. d.)
Management authoritiesThose that are involved with the management of the Mombasa Marine National Park and Reserve are:
- Non-governmental organizations (NGOs)
- Local communities
- Community-based organizations (CBOs)
- Interested Individuals (Tuda & Omar, 2012)
Conflicts and Current StatusIn Mombasa Marine National Park and Reserve, the area has been facing many conflicts between managers and local fishers, and local fishers and visitors. Two of the major conflicts are the fisheries and the enforcement of regulations (Mangi, 2007). Click here to view the Fisheries and Enforcement of Regulations. In the issue of fisheries, a study conducted by Tim McClanahan was held in order to observe and provide information about recovery rate of reef fish along the coral reef in Kenya. Results showed that some reef fish had a slower recovery rate than others; there is a strong bond between time and the amount of fish that has been recovered (McClanahan et al, 2007).
Recent DevelopmentsNotable recent developments in the Mombassa Marine National Park and Reserve:
Wildlife and Conservation Act 2013
Fisheries Act 2012