Coral reefs mending, but fish stocks declining

| 02/04/2012

get_map.jpg(Jamaica Observer): A group of marine biologists say they have found signs of recovery of Jamaica's depleted coral reefs in the critical fishing resource area known as the Pedro Bank. At the same time, they have warned that there must beproper management of the reefs if it is to be preserved as a food source. The Pedro Bank is a very unique area almost three-quarters the size of mainland Jamaica, most of which is underwater. The bank is composed of sand, coral reefs, deep reefs, seagrass beds, and three coral cays known as the Pedro Cays. It is located approximately 50 miles or 80 kilometres south-southwest of the island and is one of the biggest offshore banks in the Caribbean Basin.

Because of its size and distance from mainland Jamaica and its relatively intact biological systems, it is supposed to be one of the country's last remaining healthy marine ecosystems.

"The reefs in the Caribbean are really in a deep crisis. We've been living in a very stable climate since the last Ice Age and that steady stable climate is starting to change dramatically now. Those corals that have been around for thousands of years in the Caribbean, all of a sudden, they are living in a new environment and being stressed dramatically," said Captain Phil Renaud, Executive Director, Khaled bin Sultan Living Oceans Foundation (LOF).

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