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Rohan 02-07-2014 08:28

"Most Caribbean coral reefs may disappear in the next 20 years"
 
I wasn't s sure what would be the best forum for this topic. But since so many on this site cruise in the Caribbean I thought a lot of people would like to see this report that just came out today. I knew the problem was bad, but I didn't know it was this bad. It's interesting that unlike many other conservation reports, they acknowledge that global warming is NOT the main cause here.

Those who scuba/skin dive in the Caribbean over the past few decades, have you noticed this problem? Does this report fit with what you have seen?

IUCN - From despair to repair: Dramatic decline of Caribbean corals can be reversed

With only about one-sixth of the original coral cover left, most Caribbean coral reefs may disappear in the next 20 years, primarily due to the loss of grazers in the region, 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 Programme (UNEP).
The report, Status and Trends of Caribbean Coral Reefs: 1970-2012, is the most detailed and comprehensive study of its kind published to date – the result of the work of 90 experts over the course of three years. It contains the analysis of more than 35,000 surveys conducted at 90 Caribbean locations since 1970, including studies of corals, seaweeds, grazing sea urchins and fish.
The results show that the Caribbean corals have declined by more than 50% since the 1970s. But according to the authors, restoring parrotfish populations and improving other management strategies, such as protection from overfishing and excessive coastal pollution, could help the reefs recover and make them more resilient to future climate change impacts.
“The rate at which the Caribbean corals have been declining is truly alarming,” says Carl Gustaf Lundin, Director of IUCN’s Global Marine and Polar Programme. “But this study brings some very encouraging news: the fate of Caribbean corals is not beyond our control and there are some very concrete steps that we can take to help them recover.”
Climate change has long been thought to be the main culprit in coral degradation. While it does pose a serious threat by making oceans more acidic and causing coral bleaching, the report shows that the loss of parrotfish and sea urchin – the area’s two main grazers – has, in fact, been the key driver of coral decline in the region. An unidentified disease led to a mass mortality of the sea urchin in 1983 and extreme fishing throughout the 20th century has brought the parrotfish population to the brink of extinction in some regions. The loss of these species breaks the delicate balance of coral ecosystems and allows algae, on which they feed, to smother the reefs.
Reefs protected from overfishing, as well as other threats such as excessive coastal pollution, tourism and coastal development, are more resilient to pressures from climate change, according to the authors.
“Even if we could somehow make climate change disappear tomorrow, these reefs would continue their decline," says Jeremy Jackson, lead author of the report and IUCN’s senior advisor on coral reefs. "We must immediately address the grazing problem for the reefs to stand any chance of surviving future climate shifts.”
The report also shows that some of the healthiest Caribbean coral reefs are those that harbour vigorous populations of grazing parrotfish. These include the Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary in the northern Gulf of Mexico, Bermuda and Bonaire, all of which have restricted or banned fishing practices that harm parrotfish, such as fish traps and spearfishing. Other countries are following suit.
“Barbuda is about to ban all catches of parrotfish and grazing sea urchins, and set aside one-third of its coastal waters as marine reserves,” says Ayana Johnson of the Waitt Institute’s Blue Halo Initiative which is collaborating with Barbuda in the development of its new management plan. “This is the kind of aggressive management that needs to be replicated regionally if we are going to increase the resilience of Caribbean reefs.”
Reefs where parrotfish are not protected have suffered tragic declines, including Jamaica, the entire Florida Reef Tract from Miami to Key West, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
The Caribbean is home to 9% of the world’s coral reefs, which are one of the most diverse ecosystems on the planet. Caribbean reefs, spanning a total of 38 countries, are vital to the region’s economy. They generate more than US$ 3 billion annually from tourism and fisheries and over a hundred times more in other goods and services, on which more than 43 million people depend.

boatman61 02-07-2014 09:00

Re: "Most Caribbean coral reefs may disappear in the next 20 years"
 
Climate change is a great whipping post... it don't affect the profits from Cruise ships, Tourism and massive population growth..
Almost as bad as blaming smokers for the increase in Asthma.. stuff all to do with all those lumps of metal churning out noxious gases.. that's more profitable...:p:p:p

Boatguy30 02-07-2014 10:28

Re: "Most Caribbean coral reefs may disappear in the next 20 years"
 
If you are genuinely concerned about this, my guess is you'll be disappointed and perhaps surprised about the direction this thread takes. Sad moral of it will be get out there now and "take yours" so to speak while you still can.

Pete7 02-07-2014 10:35

Re: "Most Caribbean coral reefs may disappear in the next 20 years"
 
So the report was written by the International Union for Conservation of Nature. Wonder what their objectives are.

Pete

Ukeluthier 02-07-2014 10:59

Re: "Most Caribbean coral reefs may disappear in the next 20 years"
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Pete7 (Post 1576483)
So the report was written by the International Union for Conservation of Nature. Wonder what their objectives are.

Pete

Umm... the conservation of nature is not an obvious and honorable objective?

:confused:

goboatingnow 02-07-2014 13:30

Re: "Most Caribbean coral reefs may disappear in the next 20 years"
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Pete7 (Post 1576483)
So the report was written by the International Union for Conservation of Nature. Wonder what their objectives are.



Pete


They are one of the oldest and most respected lobbyist for nature conservation based in Switzerland

Dave

Lake-Effect 02-07-2014 14:04

Re: "Most Caribbean coral reefs may disappear in the next 20 years"
 
I haven't seen this topic for a while. Update me - are we still pretending that AGW isn't a thing and/or it's a lefty plot, or have we mostly moved over to just shrugging and making warm jokes?

:popcorn:

goboatingnow 02-07-2014 14:17

Re: "Most Caribbean coral reefs may disappear in the next 20 years"
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Lake-Effect (Post 1576627)
I haven't seen this topic for a while. Update me - are we still pretending that AGW isn't a thing and/or it's a lefty plot, or have we mostly moved over to just shrugging and making warm jokes?

:popcorn:


I think we,re at the gallows humour part of the cycle !!

Dave


Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk

sailorboy1 02-07-2014 14:30

Re: "Most Caribbean coral reefs may disappear in the next 20 years"
 
I'm sure the coral would be just fine if people were banned from being around them, including on land.

But I doubt the people living in the islands are going to go along with it. In fact I doubt boaters are going to go along with it (I'm sure a tree hugger up north will think it a great idea)!

JPA Cate 02-07-2014 14:40

Re: "Most Caribbean coral reefs may disappear in the next 20 years"
 
This one, the importation of the algae eating species from other climatologically suitable populations, to create breeding populations could actually do a great deal of good, and eventually bring back fishing. Whether it turns out to be politically do-able, is another issue.

Ann

Coops 02-07-2014 15:04

Re: "Most Caribbean coral reefs may disappear in the next 20 years"
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by goboatingnow (Post 1576597)
They are one of the oldest and most respected lobbyist for nature conservation based in Switzerland

Dave

That is no proof that there is no bias or sensationalism at all in their reports.

Coops.

tomfl 02-07-2014 15:43

Re: "Most Caribbean coral reefs may disappear in the next 20 years"
 
The Port of Miami is dredging the channel for larger ships. But before the dredging the University of Miami was allowed to harvest living coral in the channel to study how it was able to live in some of the worst conditions possible.

Not sure what it means but it was on NPR so it must be important.

conachair 02-07-2014 15:43

Re: "Most Caribbean coral reefs may disappear in the next 20 years"
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Coops (Post 1576683)
That is no proof that there is no bias or sensationalism at all in their reports.

Coops.

A few more to wade through.......


http://scholar.google.co.uk/scholar?...an+coral+reefs

Coops 02-07-2014 15:50

Re: "Most Caribbean coral reefs may disappear in the next 20 years"
 
I don't wade, or read, through any of them.:D It's like watching the news, I don't do that anymore either, pure sensationalism to get the attention. I am perfectly content to have a happy, if ignorant, life without having doom and gloom rammed down my throat by all and sundry who assume that they know a better way for me to live and think.

Coops.

gamayun 02-07-2014 16:08

Re: "Most Caribbean coral reefs may disappear in the next 20 years"
 
Sedimentation, nutrient over-enrichment and over-fishing have been the bane of corals for decades. In some places, harvesting is still a problem. These just aren't sexy issues with the public so political backbones are lacking. There's nothing new in this report, so let's all just move along.

As a diver for more than 25 years, I've seen huge changes in Florida. Some older friends won't return to certain places in the Caribbean and Red Sea because of the devastation they've seen in their lifetimes. As long as there are these stressors, along with coral bleaching from increasing sea temperatures and ocean pH declining, it's not looking good for the imperiled polyp.


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