[The notice below describes the new release of CARIBBEAN REEFS at
RISK. Copies of the report are available to CARIBWA members from the
author, Lauretta Burke <lauretta@...> at the World Resources
In addition, I am looking for addresses and lists of people involved
in marine science activities, including LABORATORIES, in the region.
WRITE TO LAURETTA for copies --- Lauretta Burke <lauretta@...>
At 10:39 PM -0400 9/29/04, Potter at Island Resources wrote:
> Paul Mackie, Media Officer, (202)729-7684; pmackie@...
>A summary of the report and illustrations are available
>at the Media Preview site of the WRI Newsroom, http://newsroom.wri.org
>WRI Report Says Human Activities, Hurricanes Threaten
>Two-thirds of Caribbean Coral Reefs
>Montego Bay, Jamaica Sept. 29, 2004 - Nearly two-thirds of coral
>reefs in the Caribbean are threatened by human activities, according
>to a new report released today by scientists at the World Resources
>Institute (WRI) under the framework of the International Coral Reef
>Action Network (ICRAN) (www.icran.org)and UNEP's Caribbean
>Environment Programme (www.cep.unep.org). Additionally, coral reefs
>are a vital component of coastal defense against the ravages of
>storms and hurricanes like Frances and Ivan.
>"Many reefs are subject to multiple threats, such as from
>over-fishing and runoff of pollution and sediments from the land. We
>estimate that two-thirds of the region's reefs are threatened from
>these direct human pressures," said Lauretta Burke, lead author of
>Reefs at Risk in the Caribbean. "The very important overarching
>threats of coral bleaching from warming oceans, coral disease from
>new pathogens, and perhaps increased hurricane frequency are
>additional threats that put even more reefs at risk."
>Burke and her co-author, Jon Maidens, will present their
>comprehensive report on Sept. 29 in Montego Bay, Jamaica during the
>11th Intergovernmental Meeting on the Action Plan for the Caribbean
>Environment Programme and the Eight Meeting of the Contracting
>Parties to the Cartagena Convention that will be attended by
>government officials and scientists. The meeting will also serve as
>the launch of the report's companion Web site at
>"Reefs take a battering from hurricanes, which is a natural
>occurrence, but the threat increases if they become more frequent.
>When reefs get knocked down, the cost to people is dramatic," said
>Jon Maidens, co-author of the report. "If coral reefs are lost,
>replacing such natural protection by artificial means would cost
>coastal communities millions of dollars."
>The report utilizes WRI's Reefs at Risk Threat Index, which uses
>geographic information system (GIS) data to determine reef
>degradation from four primary sources. This includes coastal
>developments such as sewage discharge, water-based sediment and
>pollution coming from fertilizers from farms, marine-based pollution
>such as those coming from discharges from cruise ships, and
>"Human activity has undermined the health and vitality of reefs. The
>coral reefs I observed in the 1940s are totally different today.
>Sadly, none has changed for the better," wrote noted filmmaker
>Jean-Michel Cousteau in the preface to Reefs at Risk in the
>The analysis of coral reefs throughout the entire Caribbean - an
>estimated area of more than 10,000 square miles (26,000 sq
>kilometers) - used several other factors within its measurement
>index. For instance, when hurricanes arrive, Florida and the
>Caribbean nations are protected by reefs because of their ability to
>dissipate wave and storm energy. The authors used their index to
>calculate that shoreline protection from natural Caribbean reefs
>saves between US$700 million and US$2.2 billion per year.
>"Hurricanes have been important in shaping the Caribbean. Reefs can
>recover from these storms, but not necessarily, and they're less
>likely to recover with all the added stress from other sources,"
>Maidens said. "This has economic implications."
>For instance, continuing degradation of the region's coral reefs
>could reduce net annual revenues from dive tourism - which provided
>an estimated US$2.1 billion in 2000 - by as much as US$300 million
>per year by 2015.
> The authors estimate that Caribbean coral reefs provide goods
>and services with an annual net economic value in 2000 between
>US$3.1 billion and US$4.6 billion from fisheries, dive tourism,
>fisheries and shoreline protection services. Additionally, the
>report also focuses on ways all consumers can preserve reefs. The
>International Coral Reef Action Network (ICRAN), supported primarily
>by the UN Foundation, was established in recognition of this value
>of coral reefs to millions of coastal communities around the world,
>and the need to reverse their decline.
> "Properly managed marine protected areas offer some protection for
>coral reefs, but at present, governments are not investing enough in
>these areas. Our analysis points to the high value of these
>resources, and what will be lost if they are not better protected,."
>Another innovative feature of the report is its inclusion of the
>first regionally consistent, detailed mapping of these threats.
>These will help local, national and international organizations in
>setting priorities for conservation and natural-resource management.
>In this context it contributes to the objectives of the Cartagena
>Convention, in particular its two protocols on Specially Protected
>Areas and Wildlife (SPAW) and on Land-based Sources and Activities
>of Marine Pollution (LBS).
>"The report will be a valuable tool for countries in the region
>implementing the Cartagena Convention and its Protocols", said Mr.
>Nelson Andrade Colmenares, Coordinator of UNEP's Caribbean
>Environment Programme. "Determining the potential impact of
>land-based activities on our coastal and marine resources is
>critical for the economic sustainability of the region, which is so
>dependent upon them".
>"Actions to reverse the threats to Caribbean coral reefs can often
>be undertaken at very low cost, with very high financial and
>societal returns, even in the short term," Maidens added.
>WRI first used the Reefs at Risk Threat Index to determine reef
>degradation throughout the world in 1998. Five years later, it was
>used to measure the threats to the coral reefs of Southeast Asia,
>the center of global marine diversity. This is the first time it has
>been applied to the Caribbean or used in a region that is heavily
>dependent on tourism for its revenue.
>"We rated 88 percent of Southeast Asia's reefs as threatened. We
>only rate 64 percent of the Caribbean tropical coral reefs as
>threatened. However, the threat of disease, which is not included in
>the model, is greater in the Caribbean," Burke said.
>World Resources Institute (http://www.wri.org) is an environmental
>research and policy organization that goes beyond research to create
>practical ways to protect the Earth and improve people's lives.
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