Summary: The Importance Of Coral Reefs

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Coral reefs are undeniably important for numerous reasons. They are ecologically important by supporting and providing habitat for marine community, act as wave-breakers to protect the shores from strong currents, generate income for humans and provide many other ecosystem services (Sutton 1985, Demirbilek and Nwogu 2007, Moberg and Folke 1999). Yet, corals reefs around the world are increasingly being destroyed at an unprecedented rate through overfishing, fish-bombing, increasing coastal development as a result of growing human population and others (Munro and Munro, 1994, Grigg and Birkeland 1997, Hoegh-Guldberg et al. 2007). Despite this global phenomenon, our understanding pertaining to how the complex marine ecosystem responds towards…show more content…
(2000) concluded coral cover in Tioman to be in ‘fair’ condition even after the mass coral bleaching in 1998. In addition, Reef Check Malaysia has been actively monitoring reef condition and engaging with community to increase awareness on the importance of coral reef protection (Reef Check Malaysia 2014). As part of their monitoring project, they have been collating information on coral reefs and fishes using various techniques such as belt transects. Brock (1954) first described belt transects and it has been widely used since to assess or quantify coral reef and fish population. This method has been proven to provide approximately similar estimates when compared with other approaches (Samoilys and Carlos 1992). Although it is a fairly simple method, errors and biases are easily introduced and care must be taken to ensure sources of errors are…show more content…
Though both sites in this study were unlikely to suffer from sewage or industrial pollution (“fair” coral coverage) as they are located very far from major cities (effect from nearby settlements are not apparent), indicating that overfishing is more likely to strongly affect the marine ecosystem in the area. Thus, it is pivotal to address the issue of overfishing as removal of key fish species will often lead to physical break-down of the entire coral reef ecosystem (McClanahan, 1995; Roberts, 1995; McClanahan et al., 1996). It is therefore suggested awareness program be conducted with local residents to reduce demand of fish that has a higher value and could contribute much more economically to them through tourism. Stricter enforcements by the government agencies should be practiced to prevent illegal

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