Coral Reefs Need Help Essay

2540 words - 10 pages

Beautiful beaches, a hot sun, glistening sand, and a clear ocean would make the perfect vacation, right? Many of us would enjoy being somewhere tropical. This kind of vacation won’t last much longer if we don’t start taking care of endangered coral reefs now! World government leaders should establish laws to protect them. People may ask, “If coral reefs are in such danger, why don’t we fix the problem since they provide benefits for the whole world?” Frankly, it’s not that simple. Protecting endangered coral reefs will provide the whole world with long lasting benefits.
To figure out how to solve the problem, we must start with the benefits they provide for humans and nonhumans. Coral reefs support 128 corallivorous fish species, one third of which feed almost solely on coral (80%) (Cole 286). These reefs also provide the corallivorous fish species like butterfly fish with shelter and living space (Cole 287). Most of these fish feed on Scleractinian coral (“hard” coral) while the others feed on “soft” coral due to regional variation (Cole 288, 292). For the balance of fish and coral reefs to remain in sync, the feeding intensity of the fish and the regeneration of coral reefs need to balance one another (Cole 297). When combined with other stressors like pollution and coral bleaching, it’s hard for the reefs to recover (Cole 299). Since so many people rely on the fish caught around these reefs, limiting stress on them is important. They supply the benefit and necessity of food to many people. In developing countries, coral reefs contribute to one fourth of the fish caught that feed about one billion people in Asia alone (Moore 1).
Fish seem to be plentiful, at least right now. Much of the world’s poor population depends on fish as a food source and a fulfillment of its protein necessity. Coral reef fisheries’ catches account for at least six million tons of fish catches around the world. Despite coral reefs covering less than .2% of the ocean’s area, they support 25% of the marine fish species. The reefs also provide 25% of the fish caught in developing countries as well as employ millions of fishermen to get the job done (Reaser 1502). Although coral reefs may not support everyone directly, they support surrounding countries. In the Maldives, tourism revenues amount for 45% of their gross national product. In the Caribbean, $89 billion was raised in 1990. Florida’s reefs bring in $1.6 billion every year (Reaser 1502). The Great Barrier Reef in Australia brings in $1.5 billion annually (Munday 263). Unfortunately, the coral reef tourist industry will lose money where coral reefs are affected. Coral reefs protect ocean shores as well as reduce storm damage, erosion, and flooding due to intense waves. Over time, reefs have formed lagoons and calm shore lines that provide a habitat for numerous species (Reaser 1502). Because of the strong dependence on coral reefs by humans and nonhumans, awareness of their danger should be raised! Shoreline...

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