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Poverty and Reefs

ANNEX: Country Outlines of Poverty and Reefs

The following annex provides an outline of national level statistics relating to reefs and poverty for the four regions identified as poverty-reef hotspots, namely: Eastern Africa, South Asia, Southeast Asia and the Western Caribbean.

EASTERN AFRICA

Comoros

Comoros ranks as one of the third poorest of the Medium Human Development countries (UNDP, 2002) with the highest levels of poverty occurring on Anjouan Island (WB, 1994a). The volcanic islands are densely populated and are surrounded by fringing coral reefs. Fisheries are largely small-scale and traditional and predominantly target the near-shore coral reef resources (Spalding et al., 2001). There are over 4,500 registered small-scale traditional fishers in the Comoros (Spalding et al., 2001).

Kenya

Kenya is one of the lowest ranking Medium Human Development countries (UNDP, 2002) with greatest poverty occurring in rural areas (WB, 1995). Coastal areas are densely populated and coral reefs border much of the coastline and surround offshore islands and barrier islands in the north (Spalding et al., 2001). A large small-scale marine fishery operates along the coast associated with the coral reef and near-shore resources. Although it contributes only minimally to total national fisheries production, this small-scale fishery is of crucial importance to local communities as a source of subsistence and livelihood (FAO, 2001a).

Madagascar

Madagascar also ranks as one of the world’s Low Human Development countries (UNDP, 2002), with poverty predominant in rural areas and particularly high in the southwest region of Toliary (WB, 1996). Coral reefs are widespread in the north and off the southwest coast, and support fishery activities, which are mainly focused on reef formations and reef-associated species, accounting for 43% of the total production and involving approximately 50 000 people living in 1250 villages (Gabrie et al., 2000).

Mauritius

According to the UNDP Human Development Report (2002), Mauritius is a high ranking Medium Human Development country. The main island of Mauritius is comparatively well developed compared with the smaller island of Rodriguez, which remains relatively undeveloped. Both Mauritius and Rodriguez islands are surrounded by fringing reefs and Mauritius also holds jurisdiction over a string of reef-fringed islands to the north (Spalding et al., 2001). Inshore lagoons, reefs and offshore banks are the focus of fisheries, which forms the basis of the economy, along with coastal and reef tourism and the sugar cane industry associated with the main island of Mauritius (Naim et al., 2000).

Mozambique

According to the UNDP Human Development Index (2002), Mozambique ranks as the sixth poorest country in the world. A large proportion of the population live in coastal areas, with large numbers associated with Mozambique’s capital and second largest city, both located on the coast. Coral reefs dominate the northern coast of Cabo Delgado, one of the poorest provinces in the country, and the northern Nampula province. Reefs are also found scattered along the southern coast. Marine fisheries account for more than 90% of total fish production and play an important role in the national economy and the livelihoods of coastal people. Fishery activities are predominantly small-scale and recent estimates suggest that as many as 90 000 people are involved in small-scale fisheries (excluding those involved in trading and processing), a considerable increase from FAO estimates (Table 3) (Wilson et al., 2003). In areas where the coastline is bordered by coral reefs, such as the northern province of Cabo Delgado, the entirely small-scale and non-mechanised fishery is largely focused on the coral reef and associated near-shore resources and forms an integral part of the livelihood systems of coastal people.

Reunion and Mayotte

Reunion and Mayotte are French territories, whose development has relied heavily on financial assistance from France, the European Union and in recent years on Reunion, investment from private industry. However, despite the apparent wealth, on Reunion, minority groups still suffer poverty and unemployment (CIA, 2002). Both islands are home to relatively small populations and on the larger island of Reunion, the majority of people live close to the coast, which is bordered along the western shores by a limited area of fringing coral reef. Coral reefs also surround the island of Mayotte, with a wide lagoon separating fringing reefs from a barrier reef 3–15 km offshore (Spalding et al., 2001). On Reunion, near-shore fishing is small-scale and coral reefs have been estimated to contribute to approximately 10% of the total coastal production (Naim et al., 2000). Reefs are also frequently accessed by part-time nonprofessional fishers, who reach the shallow reef by foot (Naim et al., 2000). Near-shore fisheries are similarly small-scale on Mayotte and employ an estimated 3600 fishers (Spalding et al., 2001). Coastal and reef-based tourism is growing in importance on both islands.

Seychelles

The Seychelles is a well-developed archipelagic nation, which although not included in the most recent human development ranking, is estimated to rank among the highest of the Medium Human Development countries (UNDP, 2002). However, despite the countries high level of development, its high GDP per capita compared to other Eastern African countries and its small population, an estimated 16% of the population remains below national poverty lines and distribution of income is highly unequal (WB, 1994c, see Table 3). An extensive coral reef system surrounds the high islands in the north and is the foundation of the coralline islands and atolls in the south of the archipelago (Spalding et al., 2001). Reefs and lagoons are the focus of the small-scale fishery and supply a large proportion of the fish consumed nationally (Jennings et al., 2000; Spalding et al., 2001). Coastal and reef-based tourism is also an important industry and one of the main sources of employment (Spalding et al., 2001).

Somalia

Although statistical information on poverty in Somalia is limited, Somalia is recognised to be one of the least developed countries in the world. Political instability and civil war have severely affected the country for over a decade and currently serious food shortages are affecting a large proportion of the population. Coral reefs are known to border much of the southern coastline. Fisheries are nearly entirely small-scale with a long tradition and provide an essential component to the livelihoods of a large portion of the coastal population (Pilcher and Krupp, 2000).

Tanzania

Tanzania ranks as one of the world’s Low Human Development countries (UNDP, 2002) with poverty overwhelming associated with rural areas (NBS, 2002). The coastline is inhabited by a large and rapidly growing coastal population and is bordered by the largest area of shallow coral reef in Eastern Africa, which is found along most of the coast and surrounding offshore islands (Spalding et al., 2001). Livelihoods are still based predominantly on agriculture and fishing, with estimates of the numbers of fulltime marine fishers ranging from 10 000 to 15 000, who predominantly operate from small non-mechanised craft (FAO, 2001c). Coral reefs form an important source of subsistence and income for the coastal population and more than 30% of marine fish landings are estimated to have been harvested on or adjacent to coral reefs (Muhando, 1999).

SOUTH ASIA

Bangladesh

Bangladesh is one of the poorest countries in South Asia and ranks as a Low Human Development country (UNDP, 2002), with a third of the population living on less than 1 US$ a day (Table 4). However, despite the large coastal population and significant number of people employed in fisheries and aquaculture, the numbers associated with coral reef areas and fisheries is small, with coral reefs limited to a small area surrounding the coast of St Martin’s Island.

India

India is one of the lower ranking Medium Human Development countries, with over a third of its population living on less than 1 US$ a day (Table 4). Coastal areas are heavily populated, but coral reefs are limited to two main areas off the mainland coast: the Gulf of Mannar, in the south; and the Gulf of Kutch, in the northwest, with the remaining reefs associated with the remote islands of Lakshadweep off the west coast and the Andaman and Nicobar Islands off the east coast. Reef fisheries have been estimated to contribute to 5–10% of the total marine landings (Pet-Soede et al., 2000; White and Rajasuriya, 1995, respectively), and contribute significantly to the subsistence and income of coastal fishing communities in the four reef areas. Estimates of the numbers of small-scale fishers, amount to 21 000 in the Gulf of Mannar and 20 000 in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands (Rengasamy et al., 2003; Singh and Andrews, 2003). On Lakshadweep where the reefs form the foundation of the lowlying coralline islands and home to 60 595 people, tuna fishing relying on bait fish from the reef constitutes a major part of the local economy and reef harvest is the main source of subsistence for poor households (Hoon, 2003).

Maldives

The Maldives has the highest ranking Human Development Index of all South Asian coastal nations. It is also the country with the greatest expanse of coral reef, associated with a chain of 22 coral atolls running 800 km from north to south and including 1200 low coralline islands, of which 199 are inhabited. Coral reefs are the foundation of life on the Maldives, providing land area, construction materials, the source of bait fish for a large tuna fishery, and supporting smaller reef fisheries for limited local consumption and growing exports. Island and reef-based tourism also represents a significant industry.

Pakistan

Pakistan is again one of the poorer countries in South Asia and ranks as a Low Human Development country (UNDP, 2002). Little is known of the coral reefs in Pakistan, however, similar to Bangladesh, the area is believed to be small and the full extent of their support to fisheries and coastal communities is also unknown.

Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka represents a middle ranking Medium Human Development country (UNDP, 2002) with a densely populated coastline, particularly in the west and south. Fringing coral reefs are estimated to occur along approximately 2% of the coastline mainly in the northwest and east (Spalding et al., 2001), patchy reefs also occur in the southwest and in deeper waters off the west coast. Near-shore fisheries have been estimated to contribute to 60% of total landings in 2000 (NARA, 2001), of which 15 to 50% are estimated to be reef-associated species (Berg et al., 1998, Spalding et al., 2001, respectively). According to the 1999 census of marine fisheries, there was a total of 115,014 active fishers distributed among 1437 villages around the coast of Sri Lanka, predominantly operating small-scale craft (59% of fishing craft are small-scale and traditional) (NARA, 2001).

SOUTHEAST ASIA

Cambodia

According to the UNDP Human Development report (2002), Cambodia is officially one of the least developed countries in Southeast Asia, ranking as a low Medium Human Development country. Poverty remains concentrated in rural areas, where an estimated 90% of poor people live (ADB, 2002). Little is known of the coral reefs off the coast of Cambodia’s relatively short coastline, but coral reefs are known to occur off the mainland coast and surround the offshore islands (Spalding et al., 2001). The marine fishery is mainly coastal and near-shore arising almost entirely from small-scale and subsistence activities, which are estimated to provide the principle livelihood for 10% of households and a part time livelihood for a further 34% of households (FAO, 1999a).

China

China is a middle-ranking Medium Human Development country (UNDP, 2002), with an estimated 213 million people, or 23% of the rural population, still living on less than 1US$ a day (ADB, 2002). Coral reefs are limited along China’s South China Sea coastline, with some reefs found around Hainan Island in the mouth of the Gulf of Tonkin and reefs off the coastline of Hong Kong and Taiwan and its offshore islands (Spalding et al., 2001). Little information is available on the fisheries interactions with these coral reefs areas, although overfishing is cited as a source of coral reef degradation in these areas (Spalding et al., 2001).

Indonesia

Indonesia is a lower ranking Medium Human Development country (UNDP, 2002), with more than 56 million people living on less than 1 US$ a day. The majority of the population live on the coast, which stretches over 95 000 km encompassing over 17 000 islands (including sandbanks and rocks), of which 6000 are inhabited. Shallow coastal waters are home to 18% of the world’s coral reefs, the largest extent associated with any single nation (Spalding et al., 2001). 80% of Indonesia’s fisheries production has been estimated to originate from small-scale production in near-shore waters (UNEP, 1996). It has been estimated that the coral reefs, which dominate the near-shore, form the foundation of livelihoods and food security for hundreds of thousands of subsistence fishers (Cesar, 1996).

Malaysia

Malaysia is an upper ranking Medium Development country (UNDP, 2002), with a large proportion of its population living in coastal areas. Coral reefs are mainly found in Eastern Malaysia around off-shore islands, with the most extensive reefs located around the coast of Sabah (Spalding et al., 2001). Small-scale fishers dominate the Malaysian fishing industry, but their overall dependence on coral reef resources is limited to those operations in the vicinity of coral reef areas.

Myanmar

Myanmar does not rank particularly high in socio-economic development when compared to its Southeast Asia neighbours. According to the Asian Development Bank (2000), estimates suggest that as many as one in four households could be considered poor, and a more recent report suggests that the last official figure of poverty incidence (Table 5) is likely to be an underestimation (ADB, 2002). Half the population live in coastal areas and while little information exists on the coral reefs, they are known to be extensive around offshore islands in the north and south, and around the Mergui Archipelago (a group of 800 forested and reef fringed islands) and the offshore Burma banks (Spalding et al., 2001). Marine fisheries constitute more than 75% of the total annual fish production and are considered one of the most important components in Myanmar’s economy, with fish providing a major source of protein and the fishery providing employment and livelihoods for a large portion of the population (FAO, 2001b).

Philippines

The Philippine Archipelago is an upper ranking Medium Human Development country (UNDP, 2002), where poverty is largely associated with rural areas and natural resource based livelihoods.7 Most of the population lives in coastal areas, which are bordered by the third largest expanse of coral reef associated with a single nation (Spalding et al., 2001). Reef fisheries constitute 10% of the total fish production in the Philippines and as much as 70% of the total harvest on some small islands (Cesar, 1996; White and Cruz-Trinidad, 1998, respectively). It has been estimated that more than one million small-scale fishers depend directly on reef fisheries for their livelihood and coral reefs contribute significantly to protein supplies, in a country where more than 50% of animal protein is derived from marine fisheries and aquaculture (White and Cruz-Trinidad, 1998).

Singapore and Brunei

Both Singapore and Brunei rank among the High Human Development countries of the world (UNDP, 2002). Both are relatively small and well-developed countries, where the interaction of poverty and reefs is likely to be minimal.

Thailand

Thailand ranks as an upper-ranking Medium Development country, falling in between Malaysia and Philippines in terms of human development indices (UNDP, 2002). Coral reef areas are encountered on all coasts and are particularly extensive around the offshore islands on the west coast in the Andaman Sea. Marine fishery activities play an important socio-economic role in Thailand, contributing to 79% of the total fisheries production in 1996 and providing the primary accessible source of protein for most people (FAO, 2000b). Coral reefs located in rural areas are the focus for small-scale fisheries and provide important sources of income and food. In some areas, coastal and reef-based tourism activities are replacing small-scale fisheries (Sudara and Yeemin, 1997).

Vietnam

Vietnam ranks alongside Indonesia as a lower-ranking Medium Human Development country (UNDP, 2002), with a third of the population living on less than 1 US$ a day. A large proportion of the population live in coastal areas and coral reefs are reported to surround most of the offshore islands, with some fringing reefs off the east mainland coast and offshore in the Gulf of Tonkin and Ha Long Bay (Spalding et al., 2001). Marine fisheries are predominantly small-scale and are estimated to provide the primary source of household income for 8 million people and contribute to part of the income and subsistence of a further 12 million people (FAO, 1999b).

WESTERN CARIBBEAN

Belize

According to the UNDP Human Development Indices (2002), Belize ranks just below Mexico as an upper Medium Human Development country. About 33% of the population, primarily in the southern rural districts of Toledo and Cayo, remain below the poverty line (WB, 2002c). One of the longest barrier reef systems in the Caribbean is found bordering Belize’s shallow shelf and three large coral atolls are located further offshore (Spalding et al., 2001). Reef products, such as lobsters and Queen Conch are a major component of the marine fisheries, which in 1998 were estimated to involve nearly 2000 fishers (Spalding et al., 2001).

Cayman Islands

The Cayman Islands are overseas territories of the UK and an offshore financial centre, where the interaction of poverty and reefs is likely to be minimal if existent.

Colombia

Colombia ranks as an upper Medium Human Development country (UNDP, 2002), with an estimated 8 million Colombians with incomes below a nutritionally defined subsistence level, and the majority of these people living in rural areas (WB, 2002a). A third of the population of Colombia lives in coastal areas. Coral reefs are found bordering approximately 9% of the mainland coast, predominantly on the Caribbean coast, and are also located offshore on the banks and atolls of the Nicaraguan Rise (Spalding et al., 2001). These include the large densely populated island of San Andres, home to 80 000 people, where subsistence fishing on the surrounding reefs provide an important source of food (Spalding et al., 2001).

Costa Rica

Although Costa Rica is among one of the High Human Development countries (UNDP, 2002), nearly 7% of the population remains below the poverty line (Table 6), with most of the poor living in rural areas (WB, 1997). Most of the coral reefs in Costa Rica are found on its Pacific coast, with only limited reef areas off the Caribbean coast (Spalding et al., 2001). Small-scale fisheries dominate the Costa Rican marine fisheries, engaging an estimated 750 fishers along the Caribbean coast and a further 6700 fishers on the Pacific coast, where small-scale fisheries represents one of the principle economic activities, frequently undertaken in combination with agriculture (FAO, 1996a).

Cuba

Although insufficient information exists on the level of poverty in Cuba, it is estimated that Cuba ranks as one of the upper Medium Human Development countries (UNDP, 2002), however, the average Cuban’s standard of living remains at a low level compared with 1990 (CIA, 2002). Cuba is the second largest area of coral reef in the Wider Caribbean, with reefs bordering most of the Cuban shelf (Spalding et al., 2001). Reef fisheries play an important role in the Cuban economy and as a source of protein.

Honduras

In 1998 Honduras ranked among the lowest-income countries in the western hemisphere (WB, 1999a) and is currently among the lower ranking Medium Human Development countries in the world (UNDP, 2002). Most of the poor live in rural areas and are engaged in agricultural activities or in agriculturerelated services (WB, 1994b). Nearly 70% of the population lives in coastal areas, where coral reefs are found surrounding the offshore Bay Islands, Cayos Cochinos, Mosquitia Cays and Banks and the remote Swan Islands. A high percentage of men and women on the coast depend on fishing as a source of household income and as the main source of protein. Smallscale fishers are found all along the Caribbean coast and in 1998 numbered 2000 in the Mosquitia area alone (FAO, 2002a).

Jamaica

Jamaica represents a middle-ranking Medium Human Development country (UNDP, 2002), where the poorest households typically comprise around 25% of the rural population and 10–35% of the urban population (ODN, 2000). Coral reefs surround much of the coastline and are also found on the nine offshore banks, notably at the Pedro and Morant Cays (Spalding et al., 2001). Natural resources provide the main economic opportunities to rural households (ODN, 2000) and near-shore resources and offshore cays were estimated in 1990 to support the livelihoods of 18 739 small-scale fishers.

Mexico

Mexico ranks as an upper Medium Human Development country (UNDP, 2002), with an estimated 45 million Mexicans living on less than $2 per day, and 10 million living less than $1 per day, without a reliable supply of basic foodstuffs or clean water (WB, 2002b). Nearly one-third of Mexico’s population live in coastal areas, which are home to the third largest extent of coral reefs among countries in the Wider Caribbean. Coral reefs are found on both the Caribbean and Pacific coasts, with the most extensive reef development occurring around the Yucatan peninsula on the Caribbean coast (Spalding et al., 2001). Marine fisheries are predominantly small-scale (97% of registered fishing boats are small boats (FAO, 2000a)), and are reported to have heavily exploited reef resources, particularly in areas in the Gulf of Mexico (Spalding et al., 2001).

Nicaragua

Ranking close to Honduras in terms of Human Development (Table 6), Nicaragua remains among the poorest countries in the western hemisphere, with approximately 50% of the population, or about 2 million people, living in poverty and 19% living in extreme poverty (WB, 1999b). Coral reefs are found along the entire coastline and are well developed around offshore islands and cays (Spalding et al., 2001). Small-scale fishing in near-shore waters is associated with both the Pacific and Caribbean coasts and is important economically, socially and nutritionally for coastal people, frequently being mixed with agricultural activities on the Caribbean coast (FAO, 1996b).

Panama

Panama ranks alongside Mexico as a upper ranking Medium Human Development country (UNDP, 2002), however, despite its relatively high income per capita, over one million people (37% of the population) live below the poverty line and over half a million (19% of the population) live in extreme poverty, particularly in rural and indigenous areas (Lindert, 1999). Coral reefs are found both on the Pacific and Caribbean coasts, with extensive areas on the eastern coast associated with the San Blas Archipelago, which stretches to the Colombian border (Spalding et al., 2001). Small-scale fisheries targeting near-shore resources are found on both coasts, with a large majority of activities (95%) occurring on the Pacific coast, where 80% of the country’s population is located (FAO, 2002b). Small-scale fisheries constitute about half of the total fishery activities in the country and provide an important source of fish for the national market (FAO, 2002b).
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