A story on NPR reports on a survey that found coral reefs around the world are suffering in great part due to human interference. Local threats to corals include overfishing and pollution. Meanwhile global threats such as greenhouse gases are causing heat stress to corals.
The World of Resources Institute has found that overfishing and the destructive fishing practices are threatening reefs. Lauretta Burke a senior author of the new report Reefs at Risk Revisited says that currently 75 percent of reefs are threatened by a combination of local and global threats.
By 2030 that percentage will rise to 90 twenty years after that virtually all reefs will be threatened Burke said. Burke found that poisons to stun and capture fish as well as the use of explosives to kill fish are destructive manners of fishing that hurt reefs.
Among many findings the Reefs at Risk Revisited report released that more than 275 million people worldwide live in direct vicinity of coral reefs. At least 94 countries benefit from tourism related to reefs. Certain reefs harbor potential for disease prevention, treatments for cancer, HIV and malaria.
There are potential solutions such as creations of marine protected areas. Marine protection must occur at all levels, at small ones, local ones in the developing world said Nancy Knowlton of the Smithsonian Institution’s Marine Biology Research Institution.
Knowlton says corals are the most endangered animal on the planet. She says that due to greenhouse gases pouring into the atmosphere one-third of all coral species are at risk of extinction.
Jane Lubchenco of the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration says it will take a Herculean effort to reverse the current trajectory and leave healthy ocean ecosystems to our children and our grandchildren.
I found another article from the BBC website on coral reef risk and WRI report.