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Coral Reefs

Case Study: Coral Reefs

Major endangered reef regions

Only 2.6% protected

33% of reef species endangered

Coral Reefs Small unique areas rich with marine life

 Highly vulnerable to extinction

 World’s most endangered ecosystems

Coral Reefs: Global Distribution

Click link below to learn more about coral reefs:

Coral Reefs: Global Distribution

Coral Reefs: Importance Coral reefs support the livelihoods of millions of


 Coral reefs supply seafood, building materials, sources for medicinal products, and draw in much needed tourism revenue.

 Reefs also protect shorelines and communities from storms and erosion.

Coral Reefs: Importance Coral reefs are an important source of food for

hundreds of millions of people, many of whom have no other source of animal protein.

 However especially reefs in developing countries are threatened and if human impact on reefs is not reduced there is a great danger, that some of the world’s poorest people will lose an important source of nutrition, and in many cases their livelihoods.

Coral Reefs: Importance Despite their extraordinary value, coral reefs are

deeply threatened by human activities and global climate change.

Coral Reefs: Threats

Coral Reefs: Threats

Coral Reefs: Threats

Coral Reefs: Threats

Coral Reefs: Threatened Nations most socially and economically

vulnerable to coral reef degradation Haiti, Grenada, the Philippines, Comoros, Vanuatu,

Tanzania, Kiribati, Fiji, and Indonesia.

 28% of global reef systems

 Reefs provide food, tourism, and coastal protection

 Threatened by unsustainable fishing, population stresses, and global warming

 Governments do not have capacity to protect them

Coral Reefs: Case StudyMost Endangered Coral Region on Earth

Coral Reefs: Coral Triangle Region

Coral Triangle

• 600 different species of coral

•3000 different species of fish (37% of world’s reef fish, 8% endemic)

•Home to 6 of the 7 marine turtle speciesand 22 species of marine mammals

•120 million people live in the region and rely on the reef resources, income, and protection

Coral Triangle: Economics The total annual economical value of natural habitats

in the Coral Triangle including coral reefs, mangroves, and seagrass beds is an estimated US $2.3 billion

 The commercial fishing industry of the Coral Triangle generates US $3 billion in income annually and supports millions of people in many costal villages.

Coral Triangle: Economics Coral reefs, mangroves and seagrass beds are crucial

breeding grounds for many marine creatures, including several commercially important species such as yellowfin tuna, bigeye tuna, skipjack tuna, Napoleon wrasse, and bumphead parrotfish.

 Without these nurseries for large pelagic fish species, there would be nowhere for adults to spawn or for the fry and juveniles to grow and eventually reproduce, making the continued existence of these species impossible.

Coral Triangle Fish density declining 6% annually

 Endangered species: All marine sea turtles

 Green sea turtle

 Loggerhead

 Hawksbill

 Olive Ridley

 Leatherback

 Flatback

 Dugong

 Humphead wrasse

Coral Triangle: Threats•Pollution


•Overfishing• 50% taken before

able to reproduce

• 79% spawning aggregations stopped forming or are in decline

•Destructive fishing• Cyanide Poisoning

• Dynamite fishing

• Blasts destroy 200 sq. feet at a time

Coral Triangle: Threats•Bycatch

• Million pounds of non-target species entangled in gillnets, trawls, and longlines each year

• Devastating to species, especially endangered marine turtles, sharks, and juvenile fish

•Climate Change• Rising sea levels

• Warming

• Bleaching

• Acidification

Coral Reefs: Geography’s Role Coral reef mapping Monitoring reef health Reef and marine ecosystem

classification Estimate reef area coverage Change detection Water quality Shoreline erosion/accretion

responsible for reefdegradation

 Limited coral reef management

 Coastal zone management Marine protected areas Fishing zones

Coral Reefs: Geography’s Role




Coral Geographic is one of the projects now underway at Coral reef Research which will culminate almost all that is known about the biogeography of reef building stony corals.

Coral Triangle: Solutions Marine protected areas can include several zones— “no-take”,

sustainable use, research—which provide opportunities for both conservation and sustainable exploitation.

 But there are still too few marine protected areas in the region. And even where they exist, often they are not effectively managed. This severely limits the ability of MPAs to replenish fish populations.

 What we need are well-designed and well-managed networks of marine protected areas and locally managed marine areas. This is the key to preventing further biodiversity loss and fisheries collapse.

 How/where do we design these marine protected areas?


Coral Triangle: Solutions Sustainable fishing

 International laws and standards support sustainable fisheries management, and are applicable to tuna regional fisheries management organizations (RFMOs) and their member states.

But in reality, tuna RFMOs have been unable to prevent overexploitation of tuna, rebuild depleted stocks, or protect the wider ecosystem.

 How do we address the problem of unsustainable fishing?

Coral Triangle: Solutions In the Coral Triangle, the impacts of bycatch have been

devastating. Populations of nesting marine turtles have declined by as much as 90% in some areas

 Overfishing of sharks in longline fisheries targeting tuna has endangered many species and in shrimp fisheries, juvenile ‘trash fish’ can outweigh the catch of targeted shrimp by more than 10 to 1

 Fishing gear—longlines, gillnets, and trawl nets, not selective

 How do we implement and enforce the use of better, safer technologies for fishing?

Coral Triangle: Status40% of coral reefs and mangroves destroyed in the last 40 years

Only 1% of protected areas effective in stopping coral degradation

Coral Triangle will disappear at a rate of 1-2% every year

In 40 years, the Coral Triangle may collapse and vanish

Easy Ways You Can Protect Coral Reefs

• Conserve water and energy

• Reduce Pollution• Buy renewable or

biodegradable products instead of plastics

• Support reef-friendly businesses

• Wear a swim shirt for sun protection or natural sunscreens

• Do not step on or harm coral

• Volunteer for ocean and rivers clean-ups! Caribbean Reseeding Project

Conservation Infogram:The Coral Triangle1) How/where do we design these marine

protected areas?

2) How do we address the problem of unsustainable fishing?

3) How do we implement and enforce the use of better, safer technologies for fishing?

 Pick one of the three questions and create an Infogram highlighting the potential solutions to the problems.

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