Over May 15-17, 2023, Secure Fisheries’ Senior Research Associate, Paige Roberts, participated in a coral reef monitoring training workshop in Djibouti, Djibouti hosted by the Transnational Red Sea Center (TRSC). She was part of a group of marine scientists from Yemen, Djibouti, and Somaliland who convened to learn a simple and cost-effective coral reef monitoring technique that uses video footage recorded by SCUBA divers and machine learning software to identify the corals present, examine their health, and make a three-dimensional map of the reef. The goal of the TRSC is to train a network of international scientists in a standardized method to map the health of reefs in the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden to determine their resilience to climate change. Secure Fisheries attended to learn the protocol and discuss the potential of using this method in Somaliland to monitor the reefs of Zeila.
Coral reefs are vital habitats that host incredible biodiversity and support fisheries. In Zeila, Somaliland, Secure Fisheries is working with the fishing community to establish a marine protected area to conserve the coral reefs in their local waters, but protection requires an understanding of the extent and health of the reefs. The TRSC method has potential to fill this need as it is relatively simple and inexpensive to execute, but would require significant logistical planning. Secure Fisheries will continue to engage with its new partners at the TRSC to implement this monitoring method in Somaliland.