Caribbean coral reefs may disappear in 20 years


News Americas Now, New York, NY, Thursday, July 3, 2014- Most Caribbean coral reefs may disappear in 20 years, according to the latest repor by the Global Reef Monitoring Network (GCRMN), the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).

The report, Status and Trends of Caribbean Coral Reefs 1970-2012 is the most detailed study of Caribbean coral reefs ever done and is the result of the work of 90 experts over three years.

The report finds that there has been a dramatic decline in Caribbean coral reefs of more than 50% since the 1970s and that the decline is mainly attributable to tourism, overfishing and pollution. The study also found that it was the loss of two main grazers, parrotfish and sea urchins, that has been the main driver of coral reef loss.

The reefs of Jamaica, the entire Florida Reek Tract from Miami to Key West and the US Virgin Islands were identified by the report as the reefs that have suffered tragic declines and where the parrotfish is not protected.
Reefs with vigorous populations of parrotfish are some of the healthiest Caribbean coral reefs, according to the report. These include the reefs of Bermuda and Bonaire.

The study recommends the adoption of conservation and fisheries management strategies that lead to the restoration of parrotfish populations as well as other strategies to support this adoption.