Friday, September 20, 2013

Loss of Caribbean reefs spells big trouble for economies

The Guardian has a short piece detailing the estimated losses in Caribbean coral cover. It's more than depressing.

Here is a link to reef valuation studies in the Caribbean by WRI.

Pretty soon I'm going to ask everyone to read this report that I put together in 2011, detailing valuation work in the Wider Caribbean Region (warning: big file). It's a huge report, so you can focus your attention on sections 1,2,6 &7.

11 comments:

Stephanie chizmar said...

Well, you were definitely right about it being depressing. I would like to know if some of the other large coral reefs are being lost at similar rates? Or, are the coral reefs in the Caribbean "dying" at a faster and larger scale than other areas? I skimmed your report and I still have a lot of questions that I would like to follow up on. Is there or could there be heavier taxes on land purchases with the intention of development? Does the local national governments offer subsidies or other incentives for conservation efforts that would benefit the reefs?

Shayvonne Moxey-Bonamy said...

I found this very interesting and I look forward to the findings of Catlin group study. I am curious about the effects that Cruise Ship industry have on Coral Reef degradation in the Caribbean?

Celina Roach said...

I had heard of this but to see concrete evidence of it is another thing! This is unfortunate given the length of time it takes coral reefs to form and grow. What is worst is that Caribbean governments are not educating the public at large on how to preserve the remaining 20% nor finding ways to reduce further damage to the reefs.

Blair Brannon said...

The first thing I thought of when reading these are "why arent they protected?" I think this might come into play the Coase theorem... I just know the best scuba diving I've ever seen was at a protected reef in Key Largo. It was called Molasses Bay I believe and the most diverse and alive reef Ive ever seen. I figured protected reefs are the best reefs, so why not protect more?

Anonymous said...

This study is definitely interesting and indeed alarming. What would also be interesting is if the types of pressures ( i.e pollution, warming, etc.) were quantified. Depending on the outcome, governments can develop a plan for the way forward.

On another note, I don't believe that Caribbean governments should be blamed. Some pressures such as natural events, lion fish invasion in addition to global warming contribute to coral reef degradation. Furthermore, Caribbean nations are at a disadvantage lacking human and financial resources to properly manage, protect and do more for our reefs. What is sad is that we lack support from our MEAs. With respect to Climate Change, we all share a collective responsibility in the deterioration of our environment.

Hopefully at the international, regional and local level, our governments can come up with solutions that will suite the best interests of our reef and our people.I look forward to reviewing the results of the Catlin Group study.

Diana said...

This study is definitely interesting and indeed alarming. What would also be interesting is if the types of pressures ( i.e pollution, warming, etc.) were quantified. Depending on the outcome, governments can develop a plan for the way forward.

On another note, I don't believe that Caribbean governments should be blamed. Some pressures such as natural events, lion fish invasion in addition to global warming contribute to coral reef degradation. Furthermore, Caribbean nations are at a disadvantage lacking human and financial resources to properly manage, protect and do more for our reefs. What is sad is that we lack support from our MEAs. With respect to Climate Change, we all share a collective responsibility in the deterioration of our environment.

Hopefully at the international, regional and local level, our governments can come up with solutions that will suite the best interests of our reef and our people.I look forward to reviewing the results of the Catlin Group study.

Celina Roach said...

True to a certain extent Diana but last year I found out that even using certain types of sunblock causes the corals to become bleached. For Caribbean countries which depend on tourism should they not inform tourists and locals for example to use sunblock types that do not cause coral bleaching?
Simple measures like these they could start. Yes they may lack manpower and resources but the willpower to make a start must not be underscored.

Kerriann Jessamy said...

I read and was in awe. 80%??????? That's nearly all. My question is have there been efforts before to find out why the coral reefs are dying or have we waited until 80% have gone to know that there is a problem? 80% is not an early warning, that's almost complete destruction. I honestly look forward to the results of the Caitlin's group study.

Diana Ruiz said...

I will also agree with you to a certain extent Celina. I believe that national/ local managers should remind and enforce proper practices. I did not know until you mentioned it that sun block compromised the health of coral reefs. However, as other global cases, Caribbean nations need studies or rather scientific advice to implement policies. How can we implement something we are not aware of?

Furthermore, I believe that as consumers we should also be aware of our footprints and exercise best practices to minimize our impacts to natural systems. If we are aware that certain practices affect the environment we should refrain from that behavior in our daily lives and as visitors. We share the world. As I mentioned before, it is a collective responsibility.

Charlette Alleyne-Greene said...

It is so unfortunate that 80% of the coral reefs have been destroyed. There is a great need for more public awareness of the importance the preservation of the remaining coral reef in the Caribbean.

Rasheeda Hall-Hanson said...

I think most of us have a pretty good idea of what the results of the surveys will show. The future looks very, very gloomy...to say the very least.
The lost of these corals spells big trouble for many people who depend of the resources of the ocean (fisheries in particular) for their livelihood.

Climate change is being blamed for the damage of the corals but there has also been mass harvesting of corals for various uses. In addition, other factors such as the dumping or spillage of hazardous material into the oceans also accounts for the damage that we are seeing.

One thing is certain, the management of these resources is critical if we are to rescue the reefs.