Status and Trends of Caribbean Coral Reefs: 1970-2012

Photo credit: The Ocean Agency

Most Caribbean coral reefs will disappear in 20 years if we don’t restore the population of herbivorous fish, as Caribbean reefs are gradually becoming smothered by algae.

This is the message of the new report: Status and Trends of Caribbean Coral Reefs: 1970-2012 released today as the result of a three-year joint effort of the International Coral Reef Initiative’s (ICRI) Global Coral Reef Monitoring Network (GCRMN), the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), and the United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP). The new report reveals a more than 50% decline in living corals throughout the Caribbean over the past half century. Given that Caribbean coral reefs generate more than US$3 billion annually from tourism and fisheries, and that they are a major oceanic ecosystem, this is truly alarming.