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1 . Cook Islands     Cook Islands
The coral reefs of Rarotonga provide food to the population and have a deep cultural and spiritual significance. These reefs are also essential for tourism, which is the foundation of the Cook Island economy. However, reefs in Rarotonga have a decades long history of degradation. The decline of coral health results from several factors: bleaching from El Niño events; crown-of-thorns starfish (COTS) outbreaks; nutrient and freshwater runoff into the lagoons; and algal overgrowth. There is no central sewerage system on Rarotonga, and septic tanks overflow through the sands into the lagoons. Agricultural areas also drain directly into the sea, bringing sediments, nutrients and pesticides into the lagoons during heavy rains. There has been some bleaching of corals in Rarotonga, but many corals appear to be heat-tolerant and have survived several severe bleaching events.
Source: Sasaki, Y., N. Koyama, H. Yamamoto, K. Kudo and S.Hosaka , 2000 , Study of surveillance method of coral bleaching area by aircraft remote sensing. . Report of Japan Marine Science and Technology Center/Kaiyo Kagaku Gijutsu Senta Shiken Kenkyu Hokoku. Yokosuka [Rep. Japan Mar. Sci. Technol. Cent./Kaiyo Kagaku Gijutsu Senta Shiken Kenkyu Hokoku]. no. 40, pp. 103-112. (See Document)

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