In 1988, a strategic decision was taken by the Institute of Marine Science (IMS), of the University of Dar es Salaam, to select Chwaka Bay as the priority site for the Institute’s research activities. This decision meant that the limited resources available were to be directed towards supporting research conducted in the Bay rather than spreading them thinly over several sites. This was a logical decision, as at the time, the Institute was facing a number of challenges including few qualified researchers and inadequate scientific facilities.
Chwaka Bay was chosen because of the closeness to the IMS and the presence of important tropical ecosystems such as mangrove forests, seagrass beds and coral reefs. At the same time, the coastal communities of Chwaka Bay were experiencing socio-ecological and resource management issues, features common to many coastal areas in the country.
This is a scientific book about Chwaka Bay, with all its limitations and all its potential. It is about the biology, ecology, physical and geological features as well as natural resources and management. It also deals with how people living in the surrounding villages interact with their environment on a daily basis to make their living. It highlights current challenges facing the Bay and its people, threats and research gaps. The contents of this volume are divided into the major themes of natural systems, including biology and ecology, interlinkages, human-related activities, and wider social issues relevant for management