Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Study Aims to Give Coral Reefs a Brighter Future

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Study Aims to Give Coral Reefs a Brighter Future

Article excerpt

Byline: Tony Henderson Environment Editor

STUDIES by a North East expert have helped identify for the first time the extent to which fish populations on the world's coral reefs have been depleted by fishing and estimated the recovery potential that different conservation measures could have.

As part of a global study into the recovery potential of coral reefs, researchers examined more than 800 reefs in 64 locations around the world.

They found that 83% of fished reefs are missing more than half of their expected fish populations.

Co-author of the research paper, Prof Nick Polunin from the School of Marine Science and Technology at Newcastle University, said: "In spite of coral reefs being home to thousands of species of fish and providing millions of people with food and income, until now we have had only a hazy overview of the state of coral reef ecosystems. We now know that most reef systems have been severely depleted by fishing.

"Although it's clear that recovery often takes decades, the range of restrictions we factored into our research helps us chart a course for the recovery of coral reef fisheries that includes everyone, not just those who can afford to wall off large areas."

Coral reefs are among the most diverse ecosystems on Earth, providing an important habitat for a wide range of species, and as a result, people in many tropical countries depend on them for their livelihoods. …

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