Western Indian Ocean Marine Science Association

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WIO-BENTH- Identification, characterization and vulnerability assessment of benthic ecosystems in the WIO

A. Basic Facts
   i. Project Partners

Oceanographic Research Institute (ORI-Lead institution, South Africa)

Tanzania Fisheries Research Institute (TAFIRI-Tanzania)

Centre d’Etudes et du Développement des Pêches (CEDP – Madagascar)

Instituto Nacional de Investigação Pesqueira, (IIP Mozambique)

Institute for Marine Research (IMR –Norway)

Kenya Marine Fisheries Research Institute (KMFRI –Kenya)

   ii. Project Duration 2019-2022
   iii. Project Site(s)
   iv. Project Country Kenya, Madagascar, Mozambique, South Africa, and Tanzania
   v. Budget US$ 451,275
B. Project Objectives
  • To develop a coarse-scale seabed classification scheme for the continental shelf and upper slope habitats in the WIO
  • To characterize and determine the spatial extent of benthic communities of the continental shelf and upper slope in the western part of the WIO
  • To create the first benthic biotope descriptions for the continental shelf and upper slope of the western part of the WIO using seabed habitat types and benthic communities
  • To identify the location and determine the extent of potentially vulnerable offshore marine habitats in the western part of the WIO
C. Expected Results
  • Cleaned and validated per-country survey data sets and lodged with the respective country archives with appropriate metadata
  • An online atlas of seabed habitats and benthic communities of the western part of the WIO (to be housed by the Nairobi Convention Clearinghouse)
  • Formal scientific publications, conference presentations and reports to WIOMSA
  • The first seabed habitat classification scheme for the WIO
  • The first inventory and description of biotopes and potentially vulnerable offshore marine habitats in the WIO
D. Project Activities
  • To establish availability, suitability and spatial distribution of acoustic, Physico-chemical, grab and demersal trawl data from Nansen surveys (and other surveys) for the WIO region
  • To undertake a literature and data review of WIO biogeographic provinces, habitats, benthic communities and vulnerable/critical habitats
  • Produce GIS layers of seabed acoustic characteristics
  • To create maps of biotopes (habitat and community) for the WIO region
E. Publications
F. Students Supported by the Project
G. For more information, either visit or contact:

Sean Fennessy < seanf@ori.org.za>

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