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1 . Oman     Oman
Much of Oman’s southern coastline and sub-tidal waters are dominated by sand, although there are rocky outcrops, notably around Ras Al Hadd and the offshore islands of Masirah and Al Halaniyat (Kuria Muria). The best developed coral communities and small reef formations are found in four main areas: the Musandam Peninsula; some of the shores and bays of the coast around Muscat and the Daymaniyat Islands; the western coast of Masirah Island and the adjacent mainland; and the sheltered rocky areas of coast around the Al Halaniyat Islands and mainland of Dhofar. Coral growth is restricted both by the cool water upwellings and by the availability of hard substrates. Coral communities with high coral cover but often low diversity have been noted in several areas, including communities dominated by Porites spp., Pocillopora damicornis and Acropora spp. In the Gulf of Masirah near continuous reefs dominated by Montipora foliosa have been estimated to cover more than 25 square kilometers. There have been some natural impacts to coral communities in Oman, including storm damage and some predation by crown-ofthorns starfish. Extensive bleaching and associated mortality of shallow corals occurred in Dhofar in 1998, although little or none was observed in other areas.

Human impacts, by contrast, are considerable. Oman has a fairly developed coastline and fishing is widespread. Overfishing is probably only a localized problem on the reef communities, but damage from anchors and fishing gear, together with fishing-related litter, presents much greater problems. One survey found that between 25 and 100 percent of all the coral on Pocillopora damicornis reefs surveyed in 1996 was damaged by abandoned nets. There is also a significant abalone fishery operating from the southwest of the country. Abalone are only collected for two months of the year, with total yields of around 35-45 tons per year in the early 1990s. Recreational diving occurs in a few places but remains at low levels. Pollution from terrestrial sources, or indeed from the very high volume of tanker traffic in the region, is minimal and not thought to be impacting reef communities. Oman is one of the few countries in the wider region to have moved towards an integrated system of coastal zone management and has begun to designate a system of marine protected areas.
Source: Spalding, M.D., C. Ravilious and E.P. Green , 2001 , World Atlas of Coral Reefs . Prepared at the UNEP World Conservation Monitoring Centre. University of California Press,Berkeley,USA.421p. (See Document)

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