Thursday, March 3, 2011

Report: 75% of coral reefs threatened

Human activity and climate change have left about 75% of the world's coral reefs threatened, putting the livelihoods of many countries that depend on the ocean ecosystems at risk, according to a report released this week.

Local threats such as overfishing, coastal development, and watershed- and marine-based pollution are responsible for the immediate and direct threat to more than 60% of the world's reefs. Add to that thermal stress from rising ocean temperatures and the number of threatened reefs jumps to 75%, the World Resources Institute found in the report, titled "Reefs at Risk," released Wednesday.

"This report serves as a wake-up call for policy-makers, business leaders, ocean managers, and others about the urgent need for greater protection for coral reefs," said Jane Lubchenco, administrator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. "As the report makes clear, local and global threats, including climate change, are already having significant impacts on coral reefs, putting the future of these beautiful and valuable ecosystems at risk." (read more)