Caribbean Coral Reefs

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With only about one-sixth of the original coral cover left, most Caribbean coral reefs may disappear in the next 20 years. This statistics according to the latest report by the Global Coral Reef Monitoring Network (GCRMN), the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP). First of all, as we know nearly two-thirds of coral reefs in the Caribbean are threatened by human activities. For example of human activities that effect the coral reefs are coastal development, watershed-based sediment and pollution, marine based threats and also overfishing. Within the years, the Reefs at Risk Threat Index identified that about one-tenth of Caribbean coral reefs are at very high levels of threat,…show more content…
In Caribbean, 36 percent coral reefs are located within 2 km of the inhabited land thus this area of coral reefs ecology have highly susceptible to pressures arising from coastal populations. The extensive construction and development for roads, housing, ports and other development has been required to support both of the residential and tourist populations. The coastal development was poorly managed therefore put stress on coral reefs through direct damage from dredging, land reclamation and sand and limestone mining for construction as well as through less direct pressures such as runoff from construction sites and removal of coastal habitat. Besides that, the loss of mangrove and sea grass which filter sediment and nutrients coming from the land has been widespread in the Caribbean which lead to add the pressure towards coral reef ecology. Next, the increased sediment in the coastal waters reduces the amount of light reaching the coral and hinders the ability of their symbiotic algae which is zooxanthellae for photosynthesis.
On the other hand, human activity which threatens the coral reefs at the Caribbean Sea is tourism industry. This is because, tourism has both direct and indirect impact on coral reefs namely snorkeling, diving and boating can cause direct physical damage to coral reefs. Besides that, fishing and collecting corals for souvenir
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Many residents and visitors to the Caribbean are fail to realize and understand the connections between their own activities and the health of coral reefs therefore targeted education and awareness-raising campaigns are needed to change behavior and create political will for policy change. Educators, universities, national governments, resource managers, NGOs and others should work to raise awareness among residents and tourists alike through the development and dissemination of targeted educational materials. Their target audiences are community groups, fishers, workers in the tourist industry, tourists, politicians and student. Besides that, damage from land-based sources of pollution should be reduced through more effective watershed and coastal

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