With only about one-sixth of the original coral cover left, most Caribbean coral reefs may disappear in the next 20 years, primarily due to the loss of grazers in the region according to the latest study by the Global Coral Reef Monitoring Network (GCRMN) Status and Trends of Caribbean Coral Reefs: 1970-2012. This report is the most detailed and comprehensive study of its kind published to date and is the result of a three-year joint effort of the International Coral Reef Initiative’s (ICRI) GCRMN, the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), and the United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP).
It reveals a more than 50% decline in living corals throughout the Caribbean over the past half century, but also delivers a crucial message on the importance of restoring the population of fish that eat seaweed, as Caribbean reefs are gradually getting smothered by algae.
The entire report and an executive summary in English can be downloaded below.
A short video on its significance and implications are available on the ICRI website.
UNEP-CEP and its SPAW-RAC have actively supported and participated in the production of this report and will follow its findings and recommendations, by developing several actions to help improving coral reef conservation in the region - In particular, a regional workshop dedicated to the wider Caribbean GRCMN will be held in Curacao from the 6th to the 8th of August 2014. Organized with the support of the Caribbean Netherlands, UNEP-CEP and the SPAW-RAC, this event will gather around twenty coral reefs and conservation experts from various locations from the whole Caribbean region, with the specific objectives of "Reviewing, improving and revitalizing the network and the nodes for a more effective coral reef monitoring and data management”.