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Ecological and socio-economic assessment of Mombasa Marine Park and Reserve, Kenya
Munga, C.N. (2008). Ecological and socio-economic assessment of Mombasa Marine Park and Reserve, Kenya. MSc Thesis. VUB: Brussel. 91 pp.

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Document type: Dissertation

Author keywords
    Ecological, Socio-economic, Park, Reserve, Marine Protected Area (MPA), Kenya

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    The ecological characteristics and socio-economic aspects of the Mombasa Marine Park and Reserve in Kenya were assessed in this study. The park is a no-take-zone, while the reserve is a zone where small scale artisanal fishing is allowed. Four year monitoring data (2004 to 2007) of percent benthic cover, fish and invertebrate densities using the Line Intercept Transect (LIT) reveals significant differences in fish and invertebrate compositions between the park and the reserve with no seasonal or annual differences. For benthic cover significant seasonal differences in composition was observed. The differences in fish composition was attributed to more abundant Haemulidae (nocturnal carnivores) and Acanthuridae (herbivores) families in the park, while differences in invertebrates composition was due to more abundant Echinoidea in the reserve and more abundant Holothuroidea in the park. The seasonal differences in benthic cover composition were mainly as a result of Macroalgae and Calcareous algae groups that were observed to be more abundant during the NEM (dry) season. Diversity by taxa richness for benthic cover and fish was significantly higher in the park, and significantly higher during the NEM season for the benthic cover. In addition, significant higher Shannon-Wiener diversity index and lower dominance was observed for the fish and invertebrates in the park. The dominance index of benthic cover was neither significantly different between the park and the reserve nor, the seasonal and annual differences were observed for all the three ecological groups studied. Still, long term monitoring data will be more reliable to verify this current status of the ecological groups. Socio-economic data based on interviews from a total of 150 resource users depending directly or indirectly on the MPA representing fishermen, boat operators, kiosk operators, curio vendors, and tourists were analysed. The fishermen had the oldest mean age with the longest time of resource use, while the boat operators generated the highest mean income from the MPA. Chi-square tests indicated (1) significantly more women than men supported the continued MPA existence; (2) there existed significant differences in resource users education levels; (3) resource users’ genders did not differ significantly with the education levels; (4) resource users’ awareness on government legislations related to conservation and sustainable resource use significantly differed with education levels where the low educated fishermen were more informed of the Fisheries Act and Wildlife (Conservation and Management) Act; and (5) place of birth differed significantly with resource user types and by gender; significantly more men than women were of local origin. The Chi-square tests also showed that, there existed a significant difference in resource use types by gender. Fishing and boating were exclusively for men while kiosk operation and tourism were dominated by women. Indeed, a more comprehensive socio-economic monitoring program for this MPA should be conducted in parallel with the ecological monitoring program to fulfill a holistic and ecosystem-based management approach.

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