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A new report has alarmingly warned that most Caribbean coral reefs will disappear within the next 20 years without adequate actions, especially due to the decline of grazers such as sea urchins and parrotfish.

The study, based on more than 35,000 surveys conducted at nearly 100 Caribbean locations since 1970, shows that the region’s corals have decreased by more than 50%.

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

Researches have outlined that climate change and the resulting ocean acidification and coral bleaching does not represent the only threats for the environmental safety of the region. In this context, local pressures such as tourism, overfishing and pollution play a central role, posing the main problems.

These factors have caused the loss of the two main grazer species, with significant consequences in the marine ecosystem.

The Caribbean have 9% of the world’s coral reefs, but only one-sixth of the original coral cover remains. The reefs, that span 38 countries, are essential to the region’s economy, generating more than US$3bn annually from tourism and fisheries and much more in other goods and services.

Although the alarming situation of the Caribbean corals, experts positively suggest that governments have the possibility to undertake the adequate instruments in order to immediately address and overcome the problems with concrete measures, among which reducing excessive coastal pollution, tourism and coastal development.


The gLAWcal Team


the team of the University Institute of European Studies (IUSE), Turin, POREEN project


Wednesday, 2 July 2014

(Source: The Guardian)