Highest coral cover in Oman

During an ongoing marine conservation work, the world’s highest coral reef cover has been found in the Musandam peninsula in Oman, according to a Biosphere Expeditions study.

Dr. Matthias Hammer, founder and executive director of Biosphere Expeditions, was quoted by the UAE-based Gulf News newspaper describing the reefs as “world class”.

“Oman has a beautiful and valuable inheritance in its marine environment ideal for careful protection and development for the sustainable benefit and enjoyment of future generations,” Dr. Hammer said during a media briefing held Monday at The Chedi, Muscat.

“Indeed it is hoped that the scientific work over the next few years will be useful to the Omani government and will help with planning a network of protected areas in Musandam,” he added.

Biosphere Expeditions study found that the human impacts on the reefs in Musandam are low in comparison to other places in Oman and the world.

But factors such as overfishing, periodic exposure to oil from spills and climate change effects, such as stormwave damage and in some places direct pollution by litter, have impacted the reefs.

The study which started in October 2008 was backed by HSBC Oman, and showed that the reefs of the peninsula are in excellent condition with the percentage coral cover reaching the up to 80-90 per cent with up to 100 species of hard corals and numerous invertebrates and coral reef fishes.

The findings are now being studied by Sultan Qaboos University.