Coral reefs threatened by bleaching

POSTED: 09/19/12 1:51 PM

St. Maarten – During the past few weeks the St. Maarten Nature Foundation has been monitoring the coral reefs inside the Man of War Shoal Marine Park for coral bleaching – the loss of color from corals under stressful environmental conditions.

While any stress can cause corals to bleach, high water temperature has been the major cause worldwide in recent decades. When corals bleach for a significant period of time they run the risk of dying all together. The Nature Foundation decided to check for coral bleaching due to the prolonged period of hot, calm weather the island has been experiencing over the last few weeks.

 

During the latest monitoring fivers discovered that bleaching was starting to affect various coral species inside of the marine park. The foundation put its coral bleaching response plan in place.. The initial phase includes continued monitoring and the implementation of various management strategies to combat the bleaching effects.

 

Increased incidences of coral bleaching is more than likely, the foundation stated in a press release, saying that it is caused by the heating up of the earth due to global warming. “In the past decades the Caribbean in particular has seen an increased number of coral bleaching events. In 2005 more than half of the coral reefs in the Caribbean, including St. Maarten, died.

 

The Man of War Shoal Marine Park and the coral reef areas within it are of significant environmental and economic importance as diving in Marine Parks is globally on the rise and generally accepted by the diving tourist as a “must do” vacation activity. An economic valuation study conducted by the Nature Foundation of the coral reef ecosystem has placed the monetary value at close to US$58 million in contributions to the country’s economy.

 

With proper management and restoration the area will increase the St. Maarten tourism product and local fisheries will also be enhanced through the regeneration of the depleted fish stock surrounding St. Maarten. Research has shown that marine protected areas increase fish populations and fish size of commercial species in nearby fishing grounds.

 

 

Did you like this? Share it:
Coral reefs threatened by bleaching by

Comments are closed.