Coral reefs face the damages of coral bleaching

By Danielle Silvia
Staff Writer

Coral reefs are in danger because of climate change, especially the recent El Niño effect (when the waters by the equator are unusally warm) and overfishing in these sea environments, according to the New York Times.

Fish, however, also offer a solution to this widespread issue if fishermen lower their fishing rates, according to Nature World News. For instance, if fishermen know about moderately to lightly fished reefs and how many fish to catch then they can protect the oceans. Instead of taking every fish they catch, fishermen can determine which fish should stay in the ocean and which should be taken home for supper, lowering the rates of overfishing, ultimately protecting the oceans.

Fishing is not the only problem with a solution. Coastal developments that typically destroy ocean life, including coastal reefs, are becoming very common all around the world. According to the Washington Post and New York Times, about 75 percent of coastal reefs are being threatened by such means of extinguishing the land around them. Coastal developments include taking parts of the coral reefs away for scientific research, establishing settlements over the area of coastal reefs, as well as simply removing parts of the coastal reefs for safekeeping or pleasure. Coral reefs can only flourish in very clear water, and polluting the ocean in terms of fishing, littering or even dumping waste into bodies of water negatively influence the water quality, obviously degrading it, thus forcing coral reefs to not live in clear water. Each of these actions is equally as dangerous to coral reefs as the next, and currently, not much is being done to preserve them in this manner.

With respect to the climate changes affecting how the coral reefs are changing, most sources agree that the warmer the temperatures in the ocean, the more that coral reefs tend to die off quicker. The main reason that this occurs is that algae become lifeless in the coral and, in turn, bleaches coral, or, in other words, whitens the coral reefs in color. Coral bleaching has been occurring since around the 1980s, forcing the reefs to diminish in color and truly lose what makes them unique, their vibrancy and beauty. It causes them to die off.

The pollution damaging coral reefs has ignited on and off since around 2002. According to The Guardian, “If the rhetoric from marine biologists is to be believed, then the Great Barrier Reef is now in the grip of a “bommie apocalypse.”

Today, 10 percent of all of the world’s coral reefs have already been demolished. The Philippines holds the world record for the most destruction done to its coral reefs, as over 70 percent of its coral reefs have been destroyed.