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A ground-breaking new report finds the ocean assets of the Western Indian Ocean region are valued at US$333.8 billion but foreshadows significant challenges for the region’s ocean-based economies and food supplies in the absence of stronger conservation actions.

Reviving the Western Indian Ocean Economy: Actions for a Sustainable Future shows that the region’s most valuable assets are fisheries, mangroves, seagrass beds and coral reefs. It combines a new economic analysis of the region’s ocean assets with a review of their contribution to human development.


WWF-UK chief advisor on marine policy Louise Heaps said: 

“This landmark report reflects the importance of ocean biodiversity in successfully implementing the UN Sustainable Development Goals and honouring the promise of the Paris climate agreement. Overexploitation and coastal degradation of the Western Indian Ocean will have severe negative impacts on ecosystems and the people who rely on them.

“The UK benefits substantially from the region, not least in terms of its fisheries. In fact, much of the tuna we eat is sourced from these waters. We have a unique responsibility to ensure the protection of the region’s natural resources so that the welfare of local people is sustained. Stronger conservation action, increased protection of ocean habitats and sustainable fisheries management are essential to the long-term stability and prosperity of the region.”

The report finds that the annual economic output of the region (the equivalent of gross domestic product) is at least US$21 billion, making the ‘ocean economy’ the fourth largest economy in the region. The most economically-valuable activities on an annual basis in the Western Indian Ocean are coastal and marine tourism, followed by carbon sequestration and fisheries.

Adjacent coastal and carbon-absorbing assets are also central to the wellbeing of communities and the health of the ocean economy. The analysis finds that the region is heavily dependent on high-value ocean natural assets that are already showing signs of decline.

The report offers a set of priority actions required to secure a sustainable, inclusive ‘blue economy’ for the region, and thus to provide food and livelihoods for growing populations.


Country Director of WWF-Madagascar and Western Indian Ocean Islands, Nanie Ratsifandrihamanana, said,

“This analysis shows that the leaders of the Western Indian Ocean face a clear and urgent choice: to continue with business-as-usual, overseeing the steady decline of ocean assets, or to seize the moment to secure the natural ocean assets that will be crucial for the future of fast-growing coastal communities and economies. The Western Indian Ocean still has the chance to get it right.”

Reviving the Western Indian Ocean Economy: Actions for a Sustainable Future is a joint assessment by The Boston Consulting Group (BCG), CORDIO East Africa and WWF.




Notes to editors


For more information, please contact:
Jonathan Jones



Tel: +44 (0)1483 412241 | M: +44 (0)7824 416735



1 The Western Indian Ocean region described in this report includes Comoros, France, Kenya, Madagascar, Mauritius, Mozambique, Seychelles, Somalia, South Africa and Tanzania – a mix of mainland continental and island states. The total population is around 220 million, over a quarter of whom live within 100km of the coast.


2 The report also points to the likelihood that much of the actual fishing in the region is for local, domestic consumption via small-scale fishing which is not adequately monitored, or measured in economic terms, so the actual extent of fishing and its importance to local communities is likely to be far greater than economic analyses indicate.



Photographs from the report for use with credits are available here


About WWF


WWF is one of the world’s largest and most respected independent conservation organizations, with over 5 million supporters and a global network active in over 100 countries. WWF's mission is to stop the degradation of the Earth's natural environment and to build a future in which humans live in harmony with nature, by conserving the world's biological diversity, ensuring that the use of renewable natural resources is sustainable, and promoting the reduction of pollution and wasteful consumption.


About CORDIO East Africa and Dr David Obura

David Obura, PhD, is a Founding Director of CORDIO East Africa, which is a knowledge

organization supporting sustainable management and conservation of coral reef and marine

systems in Eastern Africa/the Western Indian Ocean. CORDIO works with stakeholders, managers and policy makers to turn research to practical benefits. David’s primary research is on coral reef resilience, climate change impacts, and the biogeography of Indian Ocean corals. Understanding the fate of coral reefs provides insights on impending changes to other ecosystems, and to people that depend on nature’s services.


About The Boston Consulting Group

The Boston Consulting Group (BCG) is a global management consulting firm and the world's

leading advisor on business strategy. We partner with clients from the private, public, and not-forprofit sectors in all regions to identify their highest-value opportunities, address their most critical challenges, and transform their enterprises. Our customized approach combines deep insight into the dynamics of companies and markets with close collaboration at all levels of the client

organization. This ensures that our clients achieve sustainable competitive advantage, build more capable organizations, and secure lasting results. Founded in 1963, BCG is a private company with 85 offices in 48 countries.

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