Training on coral reef monitoring in Zanzibar

On the 2nd and 3rd of March, CORDIO led a coral reef monitoring training workshop in Jambiani on the east coast of Unguja Island, organised by Marinecultures and Chumbe Island Coral Park (CHICOP) and sponsored by Zuri Zanzibar, Buccaneer diving and other partners. The activity was organised as part of our commitment towards contributing to the 2018 International Year of the Reef.

The workshop brought together 19 participants representing 14 NGOs and dive centres from across Zanzibar with an interest in contributing to the conservation of coral reefs.

The two-day training workshop, led by Dr. David Obura from CORDIO, was aimed at:

  • – Providing training on basic monitoring of coral reef health
  • – Guiding the group to establish a coral reef monitoring protocol
  • – Providing information on data sharing and outreach
  • – Stimulating coral reef stakeholders across Zanzibar to come together to form a network

As the first coral reef monitoring workshop undertaken by CORDIO for dive operators, a preliminary session kick-started the 2-day event noting participant expectations from the process. The training focused on quantitative surveys for monitoring benthic cover, fish abundance and coral bleaching and included both theoretical and practical sessions.

Participants were split into divers and snorkelers, and into buddy pairs that trialed each of the monitoring methods learned. The exercise ended with a visit to Marinecultures coral and sponge farms in the lagoon to view their innovative techniques for culturing and growing out fragments of both types of organisms. After the fieldwork, buddy pairs practiced entering the collected data in spreadsheets.

A question and answer session marked the final stage of training with participants seeking clarity on the field protocols, and final discussions on possible next steps for participants.

The participants decided to form a coral reef monitoring network to contribute to monitoring of the island’s reefs. The network could act as a communication channel for members to partner and plan on coral reef monitoring activities and other related purposes. The workshop ended with a debrief on channels for participants to share data specifically coral bleaching data through our online form.

CORDIOs’ Dr. David Obura conducting training participants on coral reef monitoring protocols.

A buddy team during benthic monitoring at the Jambiani lagoon

The ‘Next- steps’ session where the network was formed.

Workshop participants after the successful reef monitoring training session