Coral Reef Collapse Spells Danger For Millions

Science Daily Island communities that depend on coral reef fisheries could face a hungry future, according to new research from the University of East Anglia, the Centre for Environment, Fisheries & Aquaculture Science (Cefas), and Simon Fraser University in Canada, published in Current Biology.

The report on island coral reef fisheries reveals that over half (55%) of the 49 island countries reviewed were being exploited unsustainably. Fish landings are currently 64% higher than can be sustained. In order to support this level of exploitation, an additional 75,000 km2 of coral reef would be needed – an area 3.7 times greater than Australia’s Great Barrier Reef. These figures will nearly triple by 2050, given current human population growth projections.

Katie Newton, of the University of East Anglia’s School of Biological Sciences, undertook a survey of the landing catches of 49 island nations across the Pacific, Indian and Atlantic Oceans.

“Millions of people are dependent on coral reef fisheries. We are facing a global crisis among communities which have limited alternative livelihoods or major food sources,” she said.

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