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First-ever socioeconomic study on coral reefs points to challenges of coastal resource management
Date:12/10/2008

Washington --- A first of its kind study, "Socioeconomic Conditions Along the World's Tropical Coasts: 2008," reports on the social and economic ramifications of healthy coral reefs in 27 tropical nations and points to the inability of coastal managers to effectively implement decades-old recommendations as a significant barrier to coral reef protection.

Issued as a parallel report to the quadrennial "Status of Coral Reefs of the World: 2008" from the Global Coral Reef Monitoring Network and the International Coral Reef Initiative, researchers from the NOAA-coordinated Global Socioeconomic Monitoring Initiative, with funding from Conservation International, provide the first regional and global synthesis of socio-economic data looking at the importance of healthy coral reef for communities located along the world's tropical coasts. The study data was compiled from interviews with 14,000 households in 27 tropical coastline countries grouped into six broad geographical regions.

The study focuses on the dependence of coastal communities on fishing, the top three perceived threats to corals along the coasts, and how socio-economic data is being used in coastal ecosystem management.

In looking at nations located in the Caribbean, Central America, the Pacific, Southeast Asia, South Asia, and the Western Indian Ocean, the reports' editors repeatedly found three basic recommendations: 1) the need to develop alternative livelihoods for fishers; 2) the need to involve local community members in decision making processes for coastal and resource management; and 3) the need to improve education and awareness of the value of healthy coral ecosystems.

"None of these recommendations are new to coastal resource management," notes Christy Loper, the report's lead author and social science coordinator of NOAA's Coral Reef Conservation Program. "However, the fact that they are still emerging as the most important recommendations by dozens
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Contact: Ben Sherman
ben.sheman@noaa.gov
301-713-3066
NOAA Headquarters
Source:Eurekalert

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