Dr. Jeremy Jackson of the Smithsonian Institution and the Scripps Institution of Oceanography will present on the new report Status and Trends of Caribbean Coral Reefs:1970-2012. The report is a result of a three-year joint effort by the International Coral Reef Initiative’s (ICRI) Global Coral Reef Monitoring Network (GCRMN), the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), and the United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP).
This study is the most detailed and comprehensive study of its kind published to date and is the result of the work of nearly 200 experts. It shows that average Caribbean coral cover declined by half but varies greatly among locations, with some sites showing little or no decline. The principal drivers of reef degradation so far have been overfishing and coastal development that are potentially reversible by local action. Banning destructive fishing practices and strengthening coastal zone management would increase resilience of Caribbean reefs to the inevitable future impacts of climate change.