Coral Reefs Essay

1147 Words 5 Pages
Coral reefs are among the most beautiful and important ecosystems on Earth. They cover over 280,000 square kilometers and support over eight hundred species of coral and four thousand species of fish. They are often referred to as the “rainforests of the seas”. Coral reefs are crucial to the ocean and humans as they provide a barrier to coasts from waves and storms. They are also spawning grounds for many species of aquatic life and provide humans with medicine and food. The estimated yearly income provided by the coral reef is around thirty billion dollars (Weeks). Despite the importance of coral reefs, is also estimated that roughly one-fourth of coral reefs are damaged and destroyed beyond repair and another two-thirds are in serious danger …show more content…
Coral reefs are delicate ecosystems that rely on a natural balance between the species living in it; over fishing of certain species disrupts this balance. A good example of this is the Parrotfish, brightly colored fish that are often wanted for seawater tanks and exhibits. They are herbivores and feed on algae and seaweed that would overgrow the reefs, slow coral growth, and threaten species that rely on the coral for food and shelter (Johnson). Improper fishing techniques harm the reefs as well. Cyanide fishing not only poisons and stuns fish in the reefs, but the coral as well. Blast, or dynamite, fishing blows up and destroys coral leaving fish no place to hide and therefore easy to catch. Bottom trawling is another form of destructive fishing in which a net is drug along the bottom to trap fish. This tactic also catches coral and rips it up (Globalissues.org). Many of these fishing techniques have been made illegal in coral reefs, but they still …show more content…
Florida has set up bans on fishing traps to protect parrotfish and reduce algae overgrowth, but coral decline here has not slowed. The Great Barrier reef in Australia is having similar problems. FIshing is regulated there, but so many other problems are present that fixing one will not remedy the problem. Oceans need to no longer be used for pollution dumping grounds, runoff from farms needs to be controlled, and more ecologically friendly ways of toxin disposal need to be developed. Destruction of reefs needs to be monitored and punished. While many of these forms of destruction, dynamite fishing, bottom trawling, and cyanide fishing are illegal, they still occur and need to be monitored and punished more heavily. Fishermen need to be taught better ways to fish, such as using nets to catch individual fish. Stopping the harvesting of coral for construction or tourism purposes is also a necessity. People need to think outside of themselves and what they think is best for them and think of the world around

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