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Cooke, A.; Ratomahenina, O.; Ranaivoson, E.; Razafindrainibe, H. (2000). Madagascar, in: Sheppard, C.R.C. (Ed.) Seas at the millennium: an environmental evaluation: 2. Regional chapters: The Indian Ocean to The Pacific. pp. 113-131
In: Sheppard, C.R.C. (Ed.) (2000). Seas at the millennium: an environmental evaluation: 2. Regional chapters: The Indian Ocean to The Pacific. Pergamon: Amsterdam. ISBN 0-08-043207-7. XXI, 920 pp., more

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Document type: Review


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  • Cooke, A.
  • Ratomahenina, O.
  • Ranaivoson, E.
  • Razafindrainibe, H.

    Madagascar extends from 10 to 25°S and supports a wide diversity of marine and coastal habitats, from equatorial reefs in the north to sub-tropical and temperate features in the south. The principal water bodies affecting the area are the oligotrophic waters of the South Equatorial Current, a gyre system in the northern Mozambique Channel and cooler, nutrient-rich waters in the south. Other controlling factors are the winds (southeast trade winds and the monsoon) and the influence of terrestrial processes, especially sedimentation. Cyclones have localised physical impacts on both the biota and the coastline, while elevated temperatures following the most recent El Niño event have had a substantial impact on coral communities. The main environmental problems in the area are localised resource degradation (especially mangroves and coral reefs) through destructive or inefficient use practices, ecological impacts of the shrimp fishery and sedimentation from erosion of inland watersheds. Problems exist in the management of large-scale fisheries, and with the collection and use of information on the state of the marine environment and resources. Pollution is only a minor problem at present, although faecal pollution is an acute problem in coastal towns. Poisoning from the ingestion of marine organisms has increased in recent years. Problems also exist in relation to the co-ordination of development activities in the coastal zone, and conflict due to migration. Projects established in the 1980s and early 1990s primarily addressed resource use practices, aquaculture and management of the industrial shrimp fishery and, to a lesser extent, the conduct of research. Recent projects have focused on management issues, including the introduction of environmental regulations, monitoring of coral reefs and ecotoxicology , pilot ICZM schemes and improved management of the shrimp and lobster fisheries. In 1997, a five-year national marine and coastal environment programme was initiated. This seeks to promote Integrated Coastal Zone Management, including protected areas, pollution prevention and monitoring as tools for ICZM. The general prognosis is optimistic, in that Madagascar's marine ecosystems appear generally to be in healthy condition, with acute problems being limited to vulnerable species or to specific areas and issues. The essential challenge is to put in place programmes and solutions before existing problems get beyond a point where sustainable solutions are possible, due to population growth, overfishing, migration or other reasons.

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