The year 2016 has recorded the warmest sea temperatures on record, and impacts on coral reefs are being felt globally. Warm sea temperatures caused by climate change are causing corals to bleach all around the world.

Corals bleach (turn white) when they lose the algae that normally lives with them, and the loss of this algae leads to the coral losing 90% of its energy. If it stays bleached (without its algae) for too long, the corals die (see ‘bleaching’ link below for more information).

The Great Barrier reef in Australia is currently experiencing around 80% bleaching. In East Africa the situation is similar, with many reefs heavily bleached (see ‘CORDIO’ link below for more information).

On Chumbe Island we are also experiencing around 80 % bleaching across the reef sanctuary. Unlike other reefs in the area however, Chumbe has few other stressors (no fishing or destructive activities take place) meaning the outlook for recovery for the Chumbe MPA is far better compared to neighboring unmanaged reefs. We are now actively monitoring the situation and ensuring any coral die off is kept free from invasive growth that can occur when they die, in order to promote active recruitment of coral larvae during the coming spawning season, and provide the best possible opportunities for the reef to bounce back, as it did when we experienced bleaching previously in 1998.

Other marine life in the Chumbe Reef Sanctuary is not affected by the bleaching and snorkeling in our MPA remains a unique experience.

If you would like more information on the recent bleaching event, and how we are working to promote recovery, we will be happy to send you further information (ask(at)chumbeisland(dot)com).



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