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Healthy Reefs

September 8, 2009

Endangered coral reefs get a conservation report card.


A reef report card. I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

The Healthy Reefs for Healthy People Initiative looks closely at the health of the giant Meso American reef system on the east coast of Central America. Smithsonian Marine Scientist Melanie McField is Director

McFIELD (Smithsonian Institution):
What is the abundance of herbivores or big carnivores… coral cover… would be healthy.

They issued a detailed report card showing that 53% of the reef was in poor or critical condition, along with a list of recommendations. The governments have responded by protecting two key families of fish and creating two new marine reserves.

And we got a ban on spearfishing inside all the marine reserves…

She says they’ll be conducting new surveys every two years, to see if the protections are showing results. I’m Bob Hirshon for AAAS, the Science Society.