Regional reefs given twenty years to live

| 02/07/2014

(CNS): With Caribbean coral reef habitats declining by more than half since the 1970s, experts believe they could be gone within the next two decades. A new report from the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) based on data from more than 35,000 surveys points to over-fishing and disease as the downfall of local reefs. If nothing is done the reefs have around twenty years before they disappear but with a concerted effort the reefs could bounce back. Cayman’s own marine experts have been pressing this point for some time but pressures from the fishing community here are holding up plans for improved protection.

Carl Gustaf Lundin, director of IUCN's Global Marine and Polar Programme, said the findings in the latest report were alarming.

"The reefs support a number of different countries and populations," he said. "Tourism is one of the biggest industries, and the health of the reef is essential to the well-being of many of the people living there. And of course they are immensely beautiful and wonderful places as well."

The report, which was involved the Global Coral Reef Monitoring Network, looked at data collected between 1970 and 2012 from 90 reef habitats and is the most comprehensive assessment of corals in this region.

The authors found that reefs in the Caribbean have undergone a dramatic transformation, changing from colourful eco-systems teeming with life to barren habitats covered with slimy algae.

The dramatic decline in the numbers of reef cleaning fish, such as parrot fish, due to over-fishing has played a major part, along with disease and coral bleaching incidents.

"We saw that reefs with no grazers ended up getting smothered by algae,” Lunden revealed.
“He said the outlook for Caribbean corals would be bleak unless action is taken to halt and reverse the decline.
"If we do nothing, I'm afraid the most likely scenario is that we will continue the slippery slope to slime," he said. "We'll lose a tremendous amount of coral cover and we'll end up with algal reefs with a much lower diversity of species."

He said that the Caribbean did not need to give up hope as reefs can, given the protection they need, recover.

Cayman’s reefs are critical to its tourism product and the Department of the Environment has been pressing for the enhancement of the laws surrounding local marine parks, which are now more than 25 years old. However, the revised plans, which were drawn up based on scientific assessments that would help to preserve our existing reef systems, have encountered on-going local opposition from politicians and fishermen.

See full report here.

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Regoinal reef"s given  20 years to live.                     As i read the report , the sentence in paragraph 1, Caymans own marine experts have been pressing this point for some time but pressures from the fishing community here are holding up plans for improved protecton .            This  sounds like you should take your expertees a little further , like to L A  and the politians and convence then how important that the marine enviorment is to the Islands ecconomy .  At the same time ask for 5 million $ that go only to protecting and enforceing the new marine conservation  laws .

  2. Anonymous says:

    Things will sort themselves out in the future, and I don't see why I need to suffer on the bottom line now because ofwhat might happen 20 years from now.  Iwould have sold up long before then.  If the hippies want it their way they can buy out the businesses they don't like.  Not going to let this sort of BS stop profts. 

  3. LMFAO says:

    The first thing this reminded me of was when 2 friends of mine tried to convince me the Universe is 6,000 years old. 

    1) The US can't even sort out its own bloody environmental laws and the majority of its corporations staunchly support the same BS your spouting.

    2) If you managed to get your unenlightened ass out of your shell and actually visit these 'poorer countries' and saw the damage wrought by the exploitation of foreign corporations, you'd probably understand why they're demanding payment.

    3) Shit happens, yes, but more shit tends to happen because ignoramouses like yourself just shrug their shoulders and go "well, I guess I'm in no way responsible for my own actions" because by your twisted logic the fact everyone and everything else are contributing to a problem, you might as well, too.


  4. Anon says:

    It makes no sense reporting what the naysayers will simply call 'doomsday scenarios'. What they need is a look in the mirror.

    As a young Caymanian, I know I was raised to be scornful of filth and to make sure I left anywhere I was the way I found it, if not better. I know I wasn't the only one raised this way, either. Caymanians are often the first to remark on how dirty and poorly raised someone is for how they keep their home or their own physical appearance. When dirty dishes are left in the sink a response of 'I didn't use it, why should I clean it' was met with a smack.

    Yet, for some reason, that logic doesn't translate out into the world around us. Do you wait until your hair is a stinking knot to comb your hair? Or when you're feet are growing fungus to have a good scrub? No. It's the same with anything you own. Regardless of whether your home falls into disrepair because you fail to adequately look after it or some storm comes along and blows it down, a smat person will try there best to fix it.

    Maybe the coral will all go in 20 years and it has nothing to do with us (if that's what you want to believe). However, that doesn't prevent us from at least trying to care about how we keep our 'house'. Have we no restraint in how we utilise the very thing that allows us to survive as a species? I was taught, a messy room reflects a messy mind. One need not wonder about the state of our collective mind- one need just look at the dump. There's no conspiracy there. WE put that shit there and now town stinks to high heaven, torn garbage bags being blown over the highway, and the mess leaks into our waters (and if you don't think pollution and overuse have a negative affect, I would encourage you to go take a nice, long swim right out there and see how well you do) . It's disgusting and we should all feel ashamed because it's shit like that that makes us look like unevolved, classless pigs.

    • Anon says:

      Sorry, can I correct my grammar? *your, *smart, *their, *torn garbage bags are being blown, *effect- I know it can be annoying to see these mistakes.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Global warming is a fraud perpetrated by the US and other governments around the world, to 1) impose global taxation (potentially trillions per annum worth via carbon taxes) and 2) for poorer countries to seek “reparations” from richer countries from law suits for having “destroyed” their environment… Already happening.. How will those taxes fix the supposed warming (which actually has been cooling since 1995) God only knows.

    The earth has seen radical weather changes, this is nothing new and will continue to happen with or without man. This is recorded historical and geological fact.

    And nonsensical reports like this only adds support for this fraud.

    Caymanget ready to pay…

    • Anonymous says:

      You are completely delusional. I will choose to believe the foremost scientists in their field that are saying the complete opposite as you with lots of peer-reviewed studies to prove it. Drastic climage change has occurred in the past because of incredibly large events like super-volcanoes spewing ash (carbon) into the atmosphere. The current climate change is being caused by man spewing carbon into the atmosphere at a rate that is not natural. It is true whether you believe it or not.

    • Dreadlock Holmes says:

      Jeeez…people like you..are truly frightening. Because you are so goddamn stupid. It's a good thing you are in the minority.

  6. Anonymous says:

    As a Northsider I can say that most of the fishing here is undertaken by responsible anglers who take what they need for themselves or for local sale.

    However, there is a significant minority who believe that it is their birthright to strip the reefs of both fish and other marine life by poaching out of season and exceeding lawful quotas. The honourable member for Northside should stop his grandstanding and actually support the DOE and their heroic efforts to save our marine environment for future generations.

    The destruction is here for all to see, hundreds of cracked conch shells litter the sea bed around the marine park areas and the turtle, lobster and whelk are equally under pressure from commercial scale poaching. We all know who the poachers are, and so does our MLA, why doesn't he stop this, after all they are his neighbours. I wonder when he lifted his expansive waistline off of the couch and snorkelled the waters around his constituency, probably never?

    Without rivers, mountains, lakes or rainforests our main natural assets are our reefs and the life theysustain. Get real Cayman, we need to protect this precious resource from those whose only concern is their own selfishness. Save our marine life and save our reefs, reject over paid hypocrites who would sell us out and deny our children a future.

  7. Lucy says:

    No-one cares, people will care in 30 years time when the reefs are gone and people don’t come to dive anymore, but right now no-one cares. It’s an indication of the selfishness that’s taking us all over. why can’t we see further than next year? 🙁

  8. Knot S Smart says:

    My mother once told me this story about a person she knew who went to the doctor and the doctor told him he was dying and he had 6 months to live…

    He was so upset that he beat up the doctor pretty badly and was given 6 months in jail…

    After the 6 months he lived for another 30+ years…

    • Anonymous says:

      Back in the seventies they predicted an ice age – didn’t happen. Then global warming – warming stopped. No more sea ice in a few years – sea ice growing. Climate change is the latest. Can’t go wrong with that, climate has been changing since time began.
      Back in the eighties, early nineties there was significant coral bleaching and the “experts” said the coral reefs were at a point of no return. Surprisingly the reefs started to recover.

  9. Concerned 1 says:

    Please read the article or at least the headline. (Regional) as in the whole caribbean.  

    • Anonymous says:

      Why is it that anything that occurs in the natural world that people consider to be negative, the environmental extremists try to use it to place humans in order to take away freedoms and gain control for themselves.
      They claim overfishing and pollution from mankind is to blame yet, even uninhabited Islands have the same issues.
      Why not actually find out what the situation is?
      Guess that doesn’t help the get control.
      Never let a good scaremongering opportunity go to waste

  10. Anonymousl says:

    how much longer does the earth have? these experts are something else ,they already admit they know more about the moon than the ocean now they know exactly how much longer the reefs will live. i do agree better marine laws should be in place, they should have been in place long before 1986 .

  11. Anonymous says:

    If that's the case, go ahead with the Dilbert Marina…might as well enjoy what we have.

  12. Anonymous says:

    Im all for protecting the reefs but do we have to ban fishing. Couldnt we just make it illegal to keep parrot fish for example?

  13. Anonymous says:

    You should see the pollution in the North Sound near CUC, atrocious!

  14. pmilburn says:

    Its all about the almighty dollar for most politicians sad to say but true.I will say this again and again.If we do not do more to protect our enviroment we will doom our future generations to more and more hardships than we are facing today.What the hell is wrong with so many people on these islands.Are so many of you blind?Most of our past govts have not given a damn about whats going on around us and I challenge anyone in govt to dispute this point tome re our marine enviroment in particular.The money spent on protecting our natural resources is quite franklya slap in the face to the many people who see the bleak future we face.

    • Anonymous says:

      This info is going to be ammo for the likes of Mac / Dilbert / Crusie Berthing Facility development in GT. "If the reef is going to die in twenty years then lets just tear it all out anyway".

  15. Squab says:

    I noticed several times while driving past a certain waterfront establishment that they have fresh parrot fish advertized as their daily special. Parrot fish are essential to healthy reefs. Why are restaurants allowed to sell parrot fish? DOE please look into this!

    • Anonymous says:

      Because they are not protected! You the people have the power to lobby your MLAs to ban the taking of certain fish. The restraunts are in it for the dollar so I suggest that anyone that feels for the conservation of the reefs should not support theses places.

      I feel sorry for the next generation and for what they will miss!

  16. Anonymous says:

    I'm sure our pollution from the Dolphin torture facilities and 10mil a year turtle disaster farm are doing loads to promote the growth of algae

  17. Wake UP says:

    BS!  Adgenda 21

    • Anonymous says:

      Put on your tin foil hats and join me in denying that man is destroying the planet. 

    • Wake Up! says:

      You wont say "troll" when you are no longer alloud to fish, swim or boat on the water.

    • Anonymous says:

      Do you have a hidden "adgenda" or are you just a bit thick?

    • Anonymous says:

      Talking of BS. What is "Adgenda"?

    • Anonymous says:

      Thanks for standing up to the most recent “sky is falling” scenario put out by the green extremists.
      For them it’s all about scaremongering in order to gain control over other people’s lives. Got to give them credit for their campaign though – they don’t give up. They succeed by constantly pushing the doom and gloom and trying to make it the politically correct issue of the day. Forget the fact that the predictions don’t come true – it gives people something to feel good about supporting.