11 November 2020.
A first of its kind assessment of coral reefs in U.S. waters reports continued decline of this sensitive underwater ecosystems. According to scientists health of the coral reefs is essential to the health of the world’s oceans.
- The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration along with the University of Maryland released a report on health of coral reefs in US Virgin Islands and in Hawaii and Guam in the Pacific.
- The study has found that only 2% coral reefs are left alive along the coasts of Florida.
- The report classified the regions as very good, good, fair, impaired and critical. Most of the coral reefs in the US, according to the report, were fair.
- According to the report, lawn chemicals, sewage and other pollutants flowing into the ocean pose catastrophic threat to the corals in the country.
- The reefs in Florida were in impaired condition.
- The corals in Puerto Rico and Hawaii were in good condition.
Significance of Coral Reefs:
- Coral reefs are some of the most diverse and valuable ecosystems on Earth.
- Coral reefs support more species per unit area than any other marine environment, including about 4,000 species of fish, 800 species of hard corals and hundreds of other species.
- The coral reefs and their related ecosysytem contributes 3.4 billion USD to the US economy annually.
Coral Reef Unit:
- The Coral Reef Unit (CRU) was established by the UNEP Executive Director in 2000 to coordinate UNEP’s work on Coral Reefs.
- It works in partnership with Regional Seas Conventions and Action Plans and other institutions on joint development of tools and methods that enable ecosystem based approaches to coral reef management.