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1 . Saudi Arabia     Saudi Arabia
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is the largest coral reef nation in the region, with an extensive coastline
facing the Red Sea, and an additional significant coastline along the western shores of the Arabian Gulf. The Red Sea coastline extends from the border with Jordan in the northern Gulf of Aqaba all the way to the border with Yemen in the southern Red Sea, following the clear climatic and physical gradients described elsewhere. This region is arid and dominated by high relief along much of its length. Offshore the waters mirror the patterns of the western shores of the Red Sea. In the north there is little or no continental shelf, reef flats are narrow, and the reef profiles are often steep to vertiginous. Further south the continental shelf widens, and in the far south becomes very wide, with extensive, shallow, and turbid inshore waters.

Large parts of Saudi Arabia’s Red Sea coastline are undeveloped, particularly away from the central towns of Jeddah and Yanbu. Sewage pollution and land reclamation are concerns around many of the larger towns, including Al Wadj, Yanbu, Jeddah and Jizan. Close to these there are an estimated 18 desalination plants along the Red Sea coast, creating localized problems through the return of warm, highly saline waters together with chemicals such as chlorine and anti-scaling compounds. Oil pollution is a threat to reefs around some of the major ports and the refinery in Yanbu. Jeddah is the largest of the Red Sea ports and has undergone massive expansion in recent decades, including large amounts of reclamation and building work directly on the fringing reef flats. Intensive industrial and urban development now extends over more than 100 kilometers of this coast, and many of the nearshore reefs (together with associated seagrass and mangrove areas) have been severely degraded or destroyed, with pollution and sedimentation combining with the direct impacts of reclamation. Away from these urban areas coastal development remains limited and the reefs are in relatively good condition.

Fishing is not a major industry in the country. There is significant fishing for food and recreation on the nearshore reefs close to the towns, threatening local populations of target species such as large groupers, but there is little or no artisanal fishing. Some commercial fishing activities operate out of Jeddah and Jizan, mostly in the shallow bank areas to south of the country, where there is trawling for prawns and some fishing for pelagic species. There are no detailed statistics describing the size of this fishery.

Tourism is largely unknown, and there is no active promotion of diving or snorkelling, although a number of dive centers cater for local needs, which include significant numbers of expatriate workers. Such recreational activities are most significant on the reefs around Jeddah. A large number of marine protected areas have been proposed along this coastline, though few have been declared.

Extensive sections of the Persian Gulf coastline are developed and there are large numbers of offshore oil platforms. Impacts on the reefs include those arising from oil pollution, solid waste, and industrial and sewage effluents. There have also been more direct impacts from land reclamation. A large area of reefs have legal protection in one of the only marine protected areas in the Arabian Gulf, although it is unclear to what degree this site is actively managed. Some of the Gulf’s more general biological and physical features, together with major human impacts, are discussed more fully in the final section of this chapter.
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)

2 . Saudi Arabia     Saudi Arabia
The Red Sea coast of Saudi Arabia is 1840 km long with extensive coastal fringing, patch/platform, pillar and barrier reefs. The reefs are highly developed in the northern and central Red Sea, but decrease towards the south due to higher sedimentary input. Most reefs in Saudi Arabia are in good condition with the exception of those flanking the major cities of Jeddah, Yanbu and Jizan. The highest coral cover was in the Gulf of Aqaba (51% at 5 m depth, average 46.3%) and on the reefs off Jeddah in the centre with a minimum of 27% (average 30% at 5 m). There were high fish counts in the Gulf of Aqaba (e.g. maximum counts of butterflyfish 8.9/100 m2, parrotfish 4.75/100 m2 and grouper 30.1/100 m2), whereas in Jeddah the respective counts were 2/100 m2, 2.3/100 m2 and 0/100 m2. Thus fishing is very low in the Gulf of Aqaba but much higher near Jeddah with higher local and tourist populations.
Source: Kotb, M. M. A. M. H. Hanafy, H. Rirache, S. Matsumura, A. Al-Sofyani, A. G.,. Ahmed, G. Bawazir and F. Horani , 2008 , Status of Coral Reefs in the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden Region . In: Wilkinson, C. (ed.). Status of Coral Reefs of the World: 2008. Global Coral Reef Monitoring Network and Reef and Rainforest Research Center, Townsville, Australia. p67-78 (See Document)

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