Monday, February 28, 2011

Why are coral reefs disappearing so fast?

There are several different reasons that explain why three quarters of world coral reefs could soon disappear. These reasons include climate change, pollution, overfishing, ocean acidification, etc.

Many scientists believe that the main threat to the survival of climate reefs is not climate change but overfishing, though on the other hand most coral reefs will be feeling the impact of climate change within the next 20 years.

Overfishing is particularly serious issue in the Indian and Pacific oceans. Fishermen are not giving enough time to nature to replace fish stocks not to mention the fact that they often use dynamiting fish to stun or kill them which also does huge damage to coral reef formations.

The only real chance to stop corals from going extinct is to tackle overfishing, climate change and pollution in the same time because these factors have become interconnected. If corals would to perish from the face of the Earth this would cause irreparable damage to marine wildlife in general, not the mention the marine biodiversity.

Coral reefs are extremely vulnerable to climate change, and it is estimated that if current warming trend continues then by 2030 around half of the world's coral reefs will suffer from bleaching, with the number likely to rise to 95% by the 2050s.

Southeast Asia, where overfishing is the worst, is the worst affected region in the world, with 95% of coral reefs threatened with extinction.

The only good news is the fact that coral reefs are quite resilient, though their resilience will soon reach its limit unless we do something about it.

We need to preserve corals for our future generations because they are the key ingredients that ensure rich marine biodiversity.

Together with tackling climate change and pollution, the world leaders should also create more protected marine areas, and by protection I mean quality protection because even though over a quarter of the world's coral is nominally protected, only one-sixth of those areas offer good protection.

That's just way too little to save coral reefs.