Corals are living animals that have existed for more than 400 million years; yet stresses and changes from human activities could cause most corals to bleach and die within the next 20 years.
of the world’s coral reefs will exist by 2040 unless we act to reduce carbon emissions today.
of reef building corals remain today in the Caribbean.
of marine life relies on coral reefs, including over 4,000 species of fish.
Coral Is Dying Due to Our Actions
Warming waters, pollution and overfishing have badly damaged our coral reefs and marine ecosystems, with roughly 50% of the world’s corals lost in just the last 30 years. While easily damaged, corals are difficult to regrow. Coral grow at a very slow clip at just a ¼-inch to 1-inch per year. And coral communities typically take at least 15 to 25 years to recover from mass mortality events such as destructive cyclones and mass bleaching events.
Coral is dying in our oceans at a fast rate due to several factors:
Climate change and warmer temperatures cause coral bleaching.
Pollutants like garbage, plastic and agricultural run-offs dump toxins into our oceans that kill reefs.
Urban development ruins natural habitats and marine nurseries important for the ecosystem.
Overfishing can deplete key reef species and damage coral habitat.
Destructive fishing techniques such as bottom trawling, bycatch, the use of poison, explosives and ghost fishing devastate the marine environment.
Outbreaks of coral diseases are occurring more frequently in response to biological stresses, such as bacteria, fungi and viruses and non-biological stresses, such as increased ocean temperatures, ultraviolet radiation and pollutants.
What We Need to Change
Reduce our carbon footprint
Lower carbon emissions
Stop overfishing & harmful fishing methods
Establish marine reserves, like Ocean Cay MSC Marine Reserve
Avoid physical coral reef damage from swimmers & boaters