Coral In Peril
Pollution, overfishing, dense coastal development, and other factors are destroying the Earth’s coral reefs. Considering the rate at which coral colonies grow, scientists are estimating that nearly three-quarters could be eliminated within fifty years. The human ties to the marine life, existing around coral reefs, is expected to multiply in future years as medical research gains more knowledge on creatures making their home among the reefs.
Living coral reefs cover 360,00 square miles of the ocean and host one in four of every known ocean species. Coral colonies grow very slow at a rate of 1.3 centimeters a year. Fish living in the coral reefs and other reef foods, support 30 to 40 million people. One fifth of the Earth’s coral reefs are located in the Indonesian and Philippine archipelagos. Fewer than 10% of Indonesia’s reefs and lees than 5% of the Philippine’s, remain in excellent condition. The use of poisons in fishing in the coral reefs has resulted in 330,000 pounds of poison being deposited on 33 million coral heads. The fishing of such exotic marine life commands up to 200 million U.S. dollars in annual sales.
The opinions presented in the article are, the importance of the coral reefs to the entire human race, and the fact that something must be done to level off the destruction on the coral reefs. There is also the opinion that the methods of fishing in and around the coral reefs must be addressed and mended due to the amount of toxins being placed into the marine environment.
The entire world is indirectly affected by the coral destruction. The marine life that makes their home in the coral reefs however, will most definitely be affected first, which results in the survival of whole cultures and communities that rely on the reef foods for sustenance as well as income.
The Marinelife Alliance, a Philippine based conservation organization, has a retraining program for fishermen that only know the use of poison for fishing in and around the coral reefs. Other various marine officials are canvassing waters to watch for the use of such fishing tactics. The author’s bias would have to be on the side of preserving the natural habitat of the coral reefs and the instituting of programs designed to do just that.
The situation of the coral reefs indirectly connects each of us in that the fishing from the coral reefs makes up nearly 10% of all global fish catch. The coral reef situation affects the community by largely displacing the income and subsistence of various communities worldwide. The effects of coral reefs as buffers from waves are disarranging natural erosion of coastal land.