On Tuesday, Global Coral Reef Monitoring Network (GCRMN) published a study. It revealed that, Global warming along with traces of Dynamite fishing and pollution wiped out 14% of the world’s coral reefs from 2009 to 2018.
As per the largest ever survey of coral health, 11,700 square kilometers of coral reefs were lost in this decade.
Corals in South Asia, Pacific, Arabian Peninsula and off the Australian coast were the most affected, 300 GCRMN scientists confirmed.
The report was supported by UNEP and International coral reef initiative.
“Climate change is the biggest threat to the world’s reefs. There are clearly unsettling trends toward coral loss, and we can expect these to continue as warming persists” ,co-author Paul Hardisty, CEO of the Australian Institute of Marine Science, said in a statement shared by the UN.
UNEP executive director Inger Anderson also highlighted his concerns, “Since 2009 we have lost more coral worldwide than all the living coral in Australia.”
Importance of Corals
Coral Reefs, although covers only 0.2 % of the ocean floor, but they are abode for a quarter of marine animals and plants. They also provide protein, jobs and protection from natural disasters for millions of people.
Trade in Corals amounts to US $2.7 trillion per year, along with US $36 billion in tourism, as per the survey. If global warming continues to increase then less than 1% of global Corals would survive.
During research, scientists also discovered that, since 2019 2% of Coral Reefs have been revived.
“We can reverse the losses, but we have to act now”, UNEP executive said.
Report titled, Status Of Coral Reefs Of The World: 2020, also showed optimism for future recovery.
“Some reefs have shown a remarkable ability to bounce back, which offers some hope for the future recovery of degraded reefs,” Dr Hardisty said.
“Coral triangle” also showed some revival after it was hit hard by warming waters.
The Coral Triangle is a roughly triangular area in the tropical waters around Indonesia, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea, the Philippines, the Solomon Islands and Timor-Leste. This area contains at least 500 species of reef-building corals in each ecoregion.
A coral reef is an underwater ecosystem characterized by reef-building corals. Reefs are formed of colonies of coral polyps held together by calcium carbonate.