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5 of the World’s Most Threatened Coral Reefs 2023

August 9, 2023 - earthorgkids

Coral reefs are like underwater cities full of different plants and animals. They are super diverse and beautiful. But some things people do are hurting them. Overfishing, throwing plastic in the water, and global warming are huge threats to coral reefs’ survival. Some of the most famous reefs, like the Great Barrier Reef, are in trouble. In this article, we take a look at the 5 most endangered coral reefs in the world.

Coral reefs are special places in the ocean, home to lots of different animals and plants. But they are in danger because of people’s reckless actions, such as overfishing and throwing plastic in the water. Climate change is also making the ocean warmer, which is not ideal for coral survival.

Scientists think that by the year 2050, the reefs could disappear completely if we do not take care of them. These reefs are important homes for many ocean creatures, and if they go away, it will affect the whole ocean.

Some coral reefs are stronger and can handle the changes better, but many of them are in trouble. The coral reefs in the Red Sea and the Gulf of Mexico are some of the most threatened ones. We need to stop doing things that hurt the coral reefs and protect them, or else they might disappear forever.

Here are some of the world’s most threatened coral reefs.

1. Great Barrier Reef, Australia

The Great Barrier Reef is the biggest and longest reef in the world. It has been badly affected by coral bleaching and climate change. In 2016 and 2017, nearly half of the coral died, about half of the Australian reef . People have been working hard to stop coral bleaching, but it’s been tough for the reef to recover because so much of it was affected.

great barrier reef in Australia

Australia’s Great Barrier Reef.

2. Indonesia

In Southeast Asia, almost 95% of the coral reefs are in danger. There are big problems with plastic pollution and overfishing in this area, which is hurting the reefs a lot. The plastic piles up and stops sunlight from reaching the reefs, which they need to stay healthy. A study in 2017 showed that the coral cover in the Melinjo Islands was only 22.2%, much less than before. Scientists think that by 2050, with the ocean getting more acidic, only 15% of the coral reefs will be able to grow properly.

3. Pacific Ocean

One of the biggest coral bleaching events happened between 2014 and 2017 because of something called El Niño, a complex weather pattern which heats up the water in the Pacific Ocean. During that time, more than 70% of the world’s coral reefs were harmed and got damaged for a long time. El Niño happens every few years, and it affects the Pacific Ocean’s reefs. It can make the coral bleach more often and take longer for the reefs to get better.

4. Hawaii

In Maui, many reefs have lost about 25% of their living coral from 1994 to 2006. One example is Honolua Bay, where the coral cover went down from 42% to 9%. This happened because of things people did. But the local government has taken steps to help the reefs. They banned sunscreens with chemicals that harm coral, like oxybenzone and octinoxate. They are trying to protect and make the reef systems healthier again.

5. Caribbean

Despite reefs being the main attraction for tourism in the Caribbean, the health of its reef systems has increasingly declined. A study conducted by the World Resources Institute has found that “nearly two-thirds of reefs in the Caribbean are threatened by human activities while an estimated one-third is threatened by coastal development” such as construction and sewage discharge. Furthermore, overfishing in the region contributes 60% of the reef’s health.

Check this out next: 10 Overfishing Facts for Kids