Fishing and pollution regulations don't help corals cope with climate change | 2/19/2019 | Staff
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A new study from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill reports that protecting coral reefs from fishing and pollution does not help coral populations cope with climate change. The study also concludes that ocean warming is the primary cause of the global decline of reef-building corals and that the only effective solution is to immediately and drastically reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

The new study published in the Annual Review of Marine Science found that coral reefs in areas with fishing and pollution regulations had the same level of decline as the coral reefs in unprotected areas, adding to the growing body of evidence that managed resilience efforts, like fishing and pollution regulations, don't work for coral reefs. This finding has important implications for how to protect reefs and best allocate scarce resources towards marine conservation.

Ocean - Warming - Corals - World - Percent

Ocean warming is devastating reef-building corals around the world. About 75 percent of the living coral on the reefs of the Caribbean and south Florida has been killed off by warming seawater over the last 30 to 40 years. Australia's Great Barrier Reef was hit by extreme temperatures and mass bleaching in 2016 and 2017, wiping out roughly half of the remaining coral on the Great Barrier Reef's remote northern section.

Corals build up reefs over thousands of years via the slow accumulation of their skeletons and coral reef habitats are occupied by millions of other species, including grouper, sharks, and sea turtles. In addition to supporting tourism and fisheries, reefs protect coastal communities from storms by buffering the shoreline from waves. When corals die, these valuable services are lost.

Response - Decline - Policy - Makers - Reef

The most common response to coral decline by policy makers and reef managers is to ban fishing based on the belief that fishing indirectly exacerbates ocean warming by enabling seaweeds that overgrow corals. The approach, referred to...
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