Since 1950s, coral cover reduced by half in world, finds report

Since 1950s, coral cover reduced by half in world, finds report

For millions of people around the world, coral reefs are a vital source of food.

According to an analysis of thousands of reef surveys, the world’s coral reef cover has halved since the 1950s. It has been ravaged by global heating, overfishing, pollution and habitat destruction.

From the Great Barrier Reef in Australia to the Saya de Malha Bank in Indian Ocean, coral reefs and the diversity of fish species they support are in a steep decline. The trend looks to continue as the planet continues to heat up in the 21st century.

A review of 14,705 reef surveys in 87 countries has found the effort required to maintain fish catches had surged dramatically since the mid-1990s. It reflects their worsening health, with catches from reef species peaking in 2002 and declining ever since.

Published in the journal ‘One Earth’ on Friday, the study found the diversity of species on reefs has dropped by more than 60% and total reef cover had approximately halved. It has been accompanied by a similar fall in services that the ecosystems provide for human populations.

Since 1950s, coral cover reduced by half in world, finds report
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For millions of people around the world, coral reefs are a vital source of food. For several island indigenous communities, fish is the primary source of protein. The researchers have also said the declines raised fears about future food stability.

Memorial University of Newfoundland’s research scientist Tyler Eddy, who led the study, said even though the decline of coral reef ecosystems had long been recorded at a national level, he was surprised by the extent of the scale of the global decline.

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