Sep 122012

A new article in The Guardian quotes a report by 36 scientists from 18 countries, the “Tropical Americas Reef Resilience Workshop”, released by the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Panama. It makes for a sobering read:

“Caribbean coral reefs – which make up one of the world’s most colourful, vivid and productive ecosystems – are on the verge of collapse, with less than 10% of the reef area showing live coral cover."

Carl Gustaf Lundin, director of the global marine and polar programme at the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) said: "The major causes of coral decline are well known and include overfishing, pollution, disease and bleaching caused by rising temperatures resulting from the burning of fossil fuels. Looking forward, there is an urgent need to immediately and drastically reduce all human impacts [in the area] if coral reefs and the vitally important fisheries that depend on them are to survive in the decades to come."

It emphasises the ecological and economic significance of reef collapse, and adds to the ever increasing call for action to prevent the loss of coral reefs globally.

"Last year, scientists estimated that 75% of the Caribbean's coral reefs were in danger, along with 95% of those in south-east Asia. That research, from the World Resources Institute, predicted that by 2050 virtually all of the world's coral reefs would be in danger."

Read the entire article here and download the report here.

 September 12, 2012