Caribbean has lost 80% of its coral reef cover in recent years

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Because of pollution and destruction, beautiful coral reefs have been destroyed. In the Caribbean a major survey revealed that 80% of the coral reefs in the Caribbean have been lost in recent years. The Caribbean’s coral reefs are one of the world’s biggest and most important reserves of coral. Pollution, climate change, overfishing, and degradation have degraded the corals. The Catlin scientific survey will survey the region’s reefs in Belize, Mexico, Anguilla, Barbuda, St. Lucia, Turks & Caicos, Florida, and Bermuda. The Catlin scientists said that the reefs act as an early warning of problems that are affecting corals all over the world. An astounding 80% of the Caribbean’s coral has been lost. The loss of coral reefs is not just an environmental problem; it is also a huge economic issue. In the Caribbean, most of the population depends on fishing and tourism and without the coral reefs, fish do not have homes and are more likely to be attacked by predators. This means less fish for fishermen to use. The coral reefs are “nurseries” for fish. Since these fish are not being protected they are being used as food for animals like sharks and whales. The beautiful coral reefs are vital to tourism because of the snorkeling programs that benefit the economy. Without the coral reefs, there would not be as much money coming in. Corals all over the world are being affected, not just the Caribbean. The famous Great Barrier Reef in Australia is dying. Mining and energy companies want to create a shipping lane through it to create a more direct link with their export markets. Coral bleaching, is due to warming seas and climate change. Coral bleaching occurs when small polyps that build the coral reefs die off. These companies do not seem to realize that the destruction of their environment will take a toll on their economies. It is frustrating how we do not care about the destruction that we are causing. Florida was mentioned along with other places in the Caribbean. This should be a wake up call.

Land and Water Use: coral reefs, coral bleaching

Hana Borhani

http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2013/aug/01/caribbean-coral-reef-loss

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