Coral reefs in the Caribbean could disappear within 20 years without protection

The Guardian reports, 2nd July 2014: “A comprehensive analysis by 90 experts of more than 35,000 surveys conducted at nearly 100 Caribbean locations since 1970 shows that the region’s corals have declined by more than 50%.

But restoring key fish populations and improving protection from overfishing and pollution could help the reefs recover and make them more resilient to the impacts of climate change, according to the study from the Global Coral Reef Monitoring Network, the International Union for Conservation of Nature and the United Nations Environment Programme.

While climate change and the resulting ocean acidification and coral bleaching does pose a major threat to the region, the report — Status and Trends of Caribbean Coral Reefs: 1970-2012 — found that local pressures such as tourism, overfishing and pollution posed the biggest problems.

And these factors have made the loss of the two main grazer species, the parrotfish and sea urchin, the key driver of coral decline in the Caribbean.

The Caribbean is home to 9% of the world’s coral reefs, but only around one-sixth of the original coral cover remains. The reefs, which span 38 countries, are vital to the region’s economy and support the more than 43 million people, generating more than US$3bn annually from tourism and fisheries and much more in other goods and services.

Source: The Guardian, 2nd July 2014. For the full text see www.theguardian.com/environment/2014/jul/02/caribbean-coral-reef-lost-fishing-pollution-report

Please do share this

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Delicious
  • StumbleUpon
  • Add to favorites
  • email hidden; JavaScript is required
  • RSS