27 October 2005

Green group warns of threat to coral reefs

Up to half of the world's coral reefs may disappear by 2045 unless urgent measures are taken to protect them against environmental hazards, particularly climate change, the World Conservation Union said.

The Swiss-based organisation called for the establishment of more protected marine areas to shelter the coral reefs from commercial fishing and pollution, where they could become more resistant to a deadly process known as bleaching.

"Twenty percent of the earth's coral reefs, arguably the richest of all marine ecosystems, have been effectively destroyed today," said Carl Gustaf Lundin, head of the agency's marine environment programme.

"Another 30 percent will become seriously depleted if no action is taken within the next 20-40 years, with climate change being a major factor for their loss," he said in a statement on Tuesday.

The group said in a report that many coral reefs die because of bleaching, caused by rising surface temperatures in seas and higher levels of sunlight due to climate change. As the temperature rises, the algae on which corals depend for food and colour die out, causing the coral to whiten, or "bleach".

Prolonged bleaching eventually kills the coral.

"Current predictions are that massive coral bleaching will become a regular event over the next 50 years," Lundin said.

In its report, the agency recommended the establishment of global marine parks covering all important marine ecosystems including coral reefs. It said such parks could reduce the stress on coral reef ecosystems by reducing the impact of pollution and overfishing.

Other key strategies include sustainable fisheries management and integrated coastal management, the report said.

Source: www.iol.co.za


At 5:24 PM, Blogger Dianna said...

what is realy happening to the coral reefs ???????

thats what im studing and i need to know and so does the public



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