According to the World Resources Institute, coral reefs make up less than one percent of the marine environment on the planet, yet they are home to more than 25% of all the marine species in the world. Thousands of species of marine vertebrates and invertebrates make their homes on coral reefs and cannot be found in any other location.
Extreme weather has always posed a threat to the existences and sustenance of coral reefs and they are especially susceptible to tectonic action from earthquakes and tsunamis in the oceans. These natural events have been taking place since the world began just as coral reefs have existed for that length of time as well. In recent decades, scientists have become concerned about the damages that have occurred in the coral reefs of the world, particularly those of Southeast Asia. Just what is happening to deplete these coral reefs?
Humans have always fished the coral reefs for food, but the types of fishing nets and gear they used in the past was not harmful to the reefs. With the invention of fishing methods that allowed them to have a higher catch each day has led to overfishing of the reefs and this has seriously depleted the marine life, upsetting the ecosystem of the reefs and the balance of nature. Sediments from rivers flowing into the ocean has also blocked the coral reefs and if the waves are not high enough or strong enough to take this sediment away, then the reefs die.
The need for more land has led to extending land out into the sea and as a result this has destroyed the coral reefs in the area. Urban development is essential but it is only now that some of the effects of this development on the marine life have come to light. Pollution from developing cities adjacent to the reefs has resulted in high percentages of coral deaths and coral bleaching, a process from which it takes coral a long time to recuperate.
Effective management is essential if the coral reefs in Southeast Asia are to be protected and preserved. However, this management is not adequate enough to provide all the resources that are necessary. Although there are many natural protected areas in this part of the world, the statistics on the protection of coral reefs shows that of the 646 protected marine areas in Southeast Asia, only 8 of them include coral reefs. Education is essential so that the majority of the population can understand the connection that exists between the coral reefs of the ocean and the life on the land. Coral reefs are essential to the economy of countries that depend on the fishing industry and by allowing the resources of the reefs to become depleted the general population will suffer.