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Large Marine Ecosystems concept applied to managing offshore zones and marine resources: Kenya's contribution
Okemwa, E. N.; Ntiba, J. M. (1993). Large Marine Ecosystems concept applied to managing offshore zones and marine resources: Kenya's contribution, in: Miles, E.L. et al. (Ed.) The Law of the Sea: New Worlds, New Discoveries. Proceedings the Law of the Sea Institute Twenty-Sixth Annual Conference co-sponsored by Ente Columbo '92, Genoa, Italy, June 22-25, 1992. pp. 106-120
In: Miles, E.L.; Treves, T. (Ed.) (1993). The Law of the Sea: New Worlds, New Discoveries. Proceedings the Law of the Sea Institute Twenty-Sixth Annual Conference co-sponsored by Ente Columbo '92, Genoa, Italy, June 22-25, 1992. The Law Of the Sea Institute, William S. Richardson School of Law, University of Hawaii: Honolulu. ISBN 0-911189-26-2, more

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Author keywords
    LME, Somalia Current, coastal development

Authors  Top 
  • Okemwa, E. N.
  • Ntiba, J. M.

Abstract
    Large Marine Ecosystems (LMEs) are large areas of global exclusive economic zones -- greater than 200,000 SQ. km -- characterized by unique bathymetry, hydrography, productivity, and community trophodynamics. On a global basis, nearly 95 percent of the biomass yields from the oceans are produced within the currently identified boundaries of LMEs. Economically important activities ranging from fishing to coastal tourism are dependent on the maintenance of robust biological diversity and sustained health of these ecosystems. LMEs are becoming increasingly stressed from pollution, over­ exploitation of living resources, and natural environmental perturbation. In addition, LMEs experience regional effects of global problems associated with atmospheric increases in the levels of greenhouse gases and decreases in the ozone layer. Against this background, scientists and resource managers have identified LMEs as the appropriate regional units for the implementation of monitoring and management actions leading to sustained and predictable development of marine resources. Monitoring and management based on units of LMEs (i.e., based on ecological principles) are more economically efficient than monitoring and management based on politically-bound management units. Most LMEs are international in scope, such that water and economically important living marine resources move freely throughout the ecosystem regardless of political boundaries. Overfishing, coastal habitat degradation, and pollution in any of these countries' waters has negative impacts on the resource sustainability and biodiversity of the entire ecosystem. To ensure the sustainability of these shared, economically important resources, it is advantageous for all LME­ adjacent nations to cooperate in ecosystem-wide monitoring and management. The LME approach also avoids costly duplication of effort by the individual countries in marine monitoring, research management, and enforcement and fosters international cooperation. At present, the LME in the Kenya-Somalia area is not adequately monitored. This has led to a situation in which coastal habitats (e.g., mangroves, coral reefs) are degraded, living marine resources are overexploited, and pollution levels increase, while inadequate data are collected to characterize impacts on natural resources and biodiversity. The problem is particularly acute in LMEs such as the Somali Current where rising human populations as well as unchecked coastal development threaten extensive damage to adjacent LMEs.

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