A new report representing a three-year project led by US-based World Resources Institute warns that the world's coral reefs could be 95% gone by 2050 without urgent action to halt global warming, overfishing and other harms.
The report “Reefs at Risk Revisited,” representing a collaboration of more than 20 research and conservation organizations, examines in much greater detail the original “Reefs at Risk” report written in 1998. In the 13 years since the first study, the researchers have found that the reef area at risk of destruction has increased by nearly one-third, with one of its biggest threats to survival being exploitative fishing.
Especially damaging are fishing methods such as dynamite that cause widespread destruction, resulting in increasingly grave imbalances to coral reefs and their surrounding ecosystems. Other threats to the reefs are warming waters from climate change, which cause coral bleaching; ocean acidification from excessive carbon dioxide absorption, and contamination due to agricultural runoff.
With experts such as Dr. Jane Lubchenco , head of the US National Oceanic Atmospheric Agency, (NOAA) saying that the report reminds the public of the urgent need for the reefs' greater protection, lead author Lauretta Burke, a senior associate at WRI stated that a little effort can go a long way toward restoring local areas.
Finally, Dr. Mark Spalding, a senior marine scientist with The Nature Conservancy, cautioned against inaction, saying, “…If we don't learn from these successes, then I think that in 50 years' time, most reefs will be gone - just banks of eroding limestone, overgrown with algae and grazed by a small variety of small fish.”
Many thanks, World Resources Institute and all researchers involved in producing this detailed report showing how human actions could drive coral reefs to extinction. May we quickly change our actions to assist all the fragile yet vital marine ecosystems in being fully restored.
During a November 2008 interview with Ireland's East Coast Radio FM, Supreme Master Ching Hai spoke about the importance of the imperiled coral reefs as well as the way we could effectively save them.