Status of Coral Reef Fish Communities within the Mombasa Marine Protected Area, Kenya, more than a Decade after Establishment
Cosmas N. Munga
Mohamed O.S. Mohamed
David O. Obura5
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The abundance, trophic composition and diversity of fish were investigated in the Mombasa Marine Protected Area (MPA) on the Kenya coast over a period of four years (2004-2007) sixteen years after its establishment to determine its effectiveness. Fish monitoring data collected using belt transects revealed significant differences in fish abundance, distribution and composition between the MPA’s no-take area and a partially-protected area with controlled exploitation. Although seasonal variation was apparent in the trophic composition, annual differences over the four year study period were not significant. Results indicated that differences in fish composition within the MPA were due to a greater abundance of haemulids (nocturnal carnivores) and acanthurids (herbivores) in the no-take area than in the partially-protected area. Fish diversity also varied between the no-take area and the partially-protected area with a higher Shannon-Wiener diversity index associated with the no-take area. Dominance was higher in the partially-protected area than in the no-take area and was also higher during the southeast (SE) monsoon season. These results support the claim of greater effectiveness of the fully protected no-take area, compared to the partially-protected area in sustaining the rich fish community found in previous studies.