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Reefs at risk Maintained by UNEP  
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Despite this fact, it is estimated that shallow coral reefs worldwide occupy some 284,300 square kilometres; this is less than 1.2 percent of the world's continental shelf area and only 0.09 of the total area of the world's oceans. Indonesia possesses the largest amount of coral reef, followed by Australia and the Philippines. The most diverse region of the world for coral reefs is centered in the Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia and Papua New Guinea, with between 500 and 600 species of coral in each of these countries. Yet coral reefs around the world are rapidly being degraded be human activities such as over-fishing, coastal development, and the introduction of sewage, fertilizer, and sediment. And because corals are highly sensitive to changes in water temperature, they are particularly vulnerable to climate change.
Assessments to late 2000 now indicate that 27% of the world's reefs have been effectively lost, with the largest single cause being the massive climate-related coral bleaching event of 1998. While there is a good chance that many of the 16% of damaged reefs will recover over time, some predict that half will never adequately recover. The latest global predictions suggest that a further 14% of the world's coral reefs will be lost by 2010, and another 18% in the 20 years following, without reductions in the current human-induced stresses on reef ecosystems from growing coastal populations and economies. This means that 59% of the world's reefs are under immediate threat of loss within several decades.   See More...
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Coral Bleaching in the Caribbean
by Gabel, David A, ENN Environmental News Network
23 September 2010

Due to above-average water temperatures in the Caribbean Sea, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) predicts that coral bleaching will be very likely this year.
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