SO, CORAL CLEARLY MATTERS TO OUR OCEANS BUT WHY SHOULD IT MATTER TO YOU?
• Corals cover less than 1% of the ocean’s floors, however, our fisheries depend on the reefs for 25-40% of the catch globally. Coral reefs are places for fish to breed, feed, grow, and live.
• The commercial value of U.S. fisheries from coral reefs is over $100 million (NMFS/NOAA, 2001). In addition, the annual value of reef-dependent recreational fisheries probably exceeds $100 million per year. In developing countries, coral reefs contribute about one-quarter of the total fish catch, providing critical food resources for tens of millions of people (Jameson et al., 1995).
• In the protective environment of most corals lives a symbiotic algae that has all the compounds necessary for photosynthesis. The algae produce carbohydrates (sugars) that go to the coral, and also produce oxygen.
And, long time storage of carbon is present in coral reefs.
• Coral reefs absorb an average of 97 percent of wave energy and therefore naturally protect coasts from storms and tropical cyclones by reducing the impact of large waves before they reach the shore. To put it simply, coral reefs save lives.
And then there’s tourism.
Every year, eco-tourists spend over $30 billion in tourism dollars visiting coral reefs and the communities that surround them.