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Reefs at Risk Revisited

Top Findings

  • Approximately 75% of world’s coral reefs are currently threatened by a combination of local and global pressures. This includes recent impacts from climate change, which causes rising ocean temperatures and coral bleaching.
  • The most immediate and direct threats arise from local sources, which currently threaten more than 60% of reefs. Local threats include overfishing, destructive fishing, coastal development, and pollution.
  • Unless steps are taken to reduce local pressure, the percent of threatened reefs will increase to more than 90% by 2030 and to nearly all reefs by 2050.
  • In the 10 years since the first Reefs at Risk analysis, threats have increased in 30% of reefs (comparing data from 1997 and 2007).
  • People: More than 275 million people live in the direct vicinity (30km/18 miles) of coral reefs.
  • Shorelines: Coral reefs protect 150,000 km [over 93,000 miles] of shorelines in more than 100 countries and territories – helping defend against storms and erosion.
  • Tourism: At least 94 countries and territories benefit from tourism related to reefs; in 23 of these, reef tourism accounts for more than 15% of gross domestic product (GDP).
  • Disease Prevention: Many reef-dwelling species harbor the potential for forming life-saving pharmaceuticals, including treatments for cancer, HIV, malaria, and other diseases.
Social Vulnerability:
  • The report identifies the 27 nations most vulnerable to coral reef degradation and loss in the world (this is out of 108 reef countries assessed). Of these, 19 are small island nations.
  • The nine countries most vulnerable to the effects of coral reef degradation are: Haiti, Grenada, Philippines, Comoros, Vanuatu, Tanzania, Kiribati, Fiji, and Indonesia.
Reef Protection:
  • Currently over one-quarter of the world’s coral reefs fall within marine protected areas, a higher proportion than for any other marine habitat.
  • However, only 6% of the world’s coral reefs are located in effectively managed MPAs, and 13% are in areas rated as only partially effective for achieving management goals.

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