The Coral Sea, east of the Great Barrier Reef in the Pacific Ocean, is one of the few places in the world where large fish such as sharks, tuna, and billfish, still abound in large numbers. Its diverse range of habitats are formed by 30 separate coral reefs that are different from those of the Great Barrier Reef, with many of the inhabitant species still to be discovered.
Recently, however, this sea has become one of countless other major coral reefs worldwide falling victim to coral bleaching, in which they are destroyed by ocean temperatures reaching record high levels.
In locations around the globe, experts are reporting coral bleaching this year as the worst since 1998, when a similar event caused 16% of the world’s coral reefs to perish. In Thailand’s waters, up to 90% of the reefs have been bleached and 20% have already died. Meanwhile, places like the Coral Sea face another global warming-related threat in increased levels of carbon dioxide that are acidifying the waters.
Marine Biologist Nicola Temple of the Australian Marine Conservation Society, a group that is working to protect the Coral Sea from these threats, spoke about the problem during a recent event to raise public awareness and support.
Nicola Temple – Marine biologist, Australian Marine Conservation Society (F): The pH has remained stable for millions of years, and its changing at a rate that is unbelievable in the last 150 years.
And, it’s going to essentially disintegrate our coral reefs. All of the animals and organisms that sequester carbon into their skeletons and into their shells are not going to be able to do so – including the very oxygen producers that we rely so heavily on.
VOICE: Ms. Temple urged for two main ways to reduce these devastating impacts, emphasizing the invaluable role of oceans in our own lives.
Nicola Temple (F): Oceans drive our climate, and our weather. They are responsible for producing the oxygen – one in every two breaths we take. One of the things we can do that’s within our power immediately is, of course, to reduce our footprint, to reduce our carbon emissions. And that’s something that’s essential and has to happen in conjunction with trying to protect what we can while we still have it.
So large marine reserves that protect a huge percentage of the population will instill some resilience into the ecosystems so that they can have a better chance at fighting things such as global climate change.
VOICE: Our thanks, Ms. Temple and the Australian Marine Conservation Society for your endeavors to protect the precious Coral Sea and our planet. May we each do our part to reduce our environmental impact by taking action to preserve our vital oceans.
Nicola Temple (F): Hi, my name is Nicola Temple. I’m the Coral Sea campaigner for the Australian Marine Conservation Society. Be Veg, Go Green 2 Save the Planet!
Supreme Master Ching Hai has frequently urged for our conservation of the oceans and the lives they sustain, as during a May 2009 videoconference in Togo.