Western Indian ocean reefs at high risk of collapse

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Western Indian ocean reefs at high risk of collapse

  • A latest International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) report says that the coral reefs in the Western Indian ocean might see the end of light within 50 years.
  • Earlier, scientists from the University of Hawaii Manoa said that of the world’s existing coral reefs, about 70-90% are predicted to disappear in the next 20 years.

Western Indian Ocean Countries

  • The Western Indian Ocean region comprises of 10 countries – Comoros, France, Kenya, Madagascar, Mauritius, Mozambique, Seychelles, Somalia, South Africa, and Tanzania.
  • Of these, five are mainland continental states, four are small island states, and one, Madagascar, combines elements of both.

IUCN Report

  • According to the new assessment of the coral reefs of the Western Indian Ocean, it was revealed that they are all at a high risk of collapse within the next five decades.
  • For the assessment, the coral reefs of the 10 countries in the Western Indian Ocean were split into 11 sub-regions and assessed using the IUCN criteria for the Red List of Ecosystems.
  • Reefs in all sub-regions were found to be at high risk of complete ecosystem collapse and irreversible damage.
  • The main contributors to the risk are ocean warming and overfishing.

Coral reef

  • It is an underwater ecosystem that comprises colonies of corals that are held together by a building of calcium carbonate, and is extremely important for healthy marine ecology.
  • They are composed of the skeletons of colonial marine invertebrates called coral.
  • Each individual coral is referred to as a polyp.
  • One of the rarest and exquisite ecosystems on Earth, it is a source of food and shelter for about 25% of all marine species.

Significance of Coral Reefs

  • If wetlands are the kidney of the earth, coral reefs are the indicator of ocean health.
  • The coral reef ecosystem helps all other marine ecosystems flourish.
  • Not only a provider of food to marine animals, but it is also a habitat for fishes, and they rely on it for their protection and survival.
  • Furthermore, it contributes to the fishing industry, protects the beaches and coastlines from erosion, acts as the ocean’s filter, and provides life-saving medicines.