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from arid and semi arid areas.  Sedimentation also causes flooding and changing of rivercourses downstream, which can impact tourism, fisheries, agriculture, and grazing practices.  The impacts need to be researched further and economic downstream effects quantified.

General facts: Coastal and coral resources.  Kenya has 536 kilometers of coastline.  It is endowed with a variety of rich coastal ecosystems, including mangroves, coastal forest, grassland and bushland, wetlands, beaches and dunes, and coral reefs.  Kenya’s corals are among the African continent’s few “true” coral reefs (Shumway 1999, p. 35) and its southern area houses the world’s largest continuous fringing reef (McClanahan and Obura 1996).

In the coastal zone extending from Somalia to Mozambique and Madagascar, more than 33 million people are living, according to World Bank figures (1995).  Of these, Kenya has 1.8 million – 6 percent – of its total population of 28.8 million people (Hinrichsen 1998) living near coasts.  Compared with some other countries in the region – e.g., Madagascar and Tanzania – this percentage is relatively low, nevertheless it is increasing and the development accompanying it is unplanned.

Kenya’s mangrove ecosystems extend 53,000 ha – estimated to be down 70 percent from the pre-agricultural period (UNEP 1999).  This vegetation provides habitat for a highly diverse range of flora and fauna, not only for the local residents but also as a stopover in the annual migrations of many key African bird species.  The role mangroves play in coastal ecosystems is vital to the livelihoods of many local human residents as well: “artisanal, commercial and subsistence fisheries all rely on mangrove for a large part of the catch” (UNEP 1999, p. 26).  The UN report makes the point that other uses are also quite important in the local economy, including poles, tannin and dyes, boat materials, domestic fuel, medicines, food, fodder, fishing stakes, and housing materials, etc.

5.2.2. Threats to coastal and coral systems in Kenya.

Kenya has been proactive in protecting a number of its coastal ecosystems.  See Map 1 of Kenya's protected areas.   The country has gazetted four marine parks and six marine reserves, most with enforcement capacity, according to the World Bank (1995).  These sites protect approximately 5 percent of Kenya's reefs (CDA et.al. 1996).  Kenya is obligated to establish integrated coastal area management (ICAM) programs through the Arusha Resolution of 1993 (CDA 2000).

Significant problems, however, affect Kenya’s coasts and reefs.  The population growth rate is estimated at 2.6 percent per year in Kenya, and many people are moving to the coast in search of a livelihood that is not available elsewhere.  Erosion and sedimentation load in freshwater sources are increasing due to land degradation and subdivision upstream in agricultural and semi-arid or marginal lands.  For example, the beach near Malindi Marine Park has expanded 500 meters farther into the ocean due to rainy-season sedimentation washed down from the uplands by the Galana-Sabaki River.   Agricultural chemical runoff from all of Kenya’s coastal watersheds, and industrial wastes from Nairobi and Mombasa drain directly into freshwater systems that dump them into the ocean.  Coral bleaching of some areas has been severe due to temperature changes occurring in recent years.

Mombasa provides the most important port facilities for Burundi, Rwanda, Uganda, and eastern Zaire, as well as Kenya (CDA 1996).  Oil spills and normal tank cleaning operations by oil tankers can often be a problem for Kenya’s coasts and especially reefs.  Hinrichsen estimated that on any given day, there are approximately 200 oil tankers passing through the western Indian Ocean on their way to or from markets in Europe or America (1993).  

Kenya’s fishing industry is comprised largely of artisanal and small-scale fisheries; nevertheless, the fisheries close to the coast are overexploited, due to increasing numbers of fishermen and to the destructive practices, including fine mesh nets, uncontrolled spearfishing, and weighted seine nets.  Farther out, trawlers from China, Japan, and South Korea are increasingly fishing Kenya’s

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