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Caribbean Coral Reef All But Gone - as part of the news series by GeoBeats.
Have you ever been snorkeling or scuba diving in a coral reef?
The latest reports indicate live coral inhabits only 8 percent of the reefs in the Caribbean islands. Compared with a 50 percent coverage in the 1970s, the fast decline of live coral is devastating to the ecosystem of this area.
Besides bringing in tourism for the economy, coral reefs serve as protection and food for growing fish.
Scientists estimated last year that 75 percent of the coral reefs in the Caribbean were threatened along with 95 percent of the reefs in South East Asia. At the current rate of destruction, by 2050 the World Resources Institute has said, “virtually all of the world's coral reefs would be in danger.”
Over fishing, pollution, and rising water temperature are among the threats. About 275 million people on Earth live less than 20 miles from a coral reef.
More remote regions of the Caribbean, such as The Cayman Islands, are experiencing a slower loss of coral reefs with 30 percent remaining.
What do you think should be done to protect coral reefs?