World without reefs will be costly, study finds

| 12/06/2018 | 12 Comments

(CNS): A new scientific study has revealed a bleak and expensive world without coral reefs to protect our shores. The latest research raising the alarm about the decimation of reefs across the globe was published Tuesday in the journal, Nature Communications, and focuses on the cost to governments and tax payers from flooding as sea levels rise and reefs disappear. The findings in the study raise further questions for the Cayman Islands government and the tourism ministry’s plans to destroy acres of live reef shelf to accommodate the controversial cruise berthing facility.

It is now well documented that reefs provide the first line of defence to people and property in the face of sea level rise and flooding. But this particular study focuses on the increase in costs of all flood-related damage, comparing the flooding now with the flooding that would occur on coast lines with coral reefs if just the top metre of living coral reef were lost, an amount commonly being lost around the world as a result of climate change and excessive coastal development.

Without living coral reefs, the annual expected damages from flooding would double and from storms would triple. Coupled with sea level rise, flooding could quadruple the costs of dealing with the damage, the study has found.

Jurisdictions like Cayman that are on the front line when it comes to sea level rise and are vulnerable to storms and hurricanes are going to be the first to be impacted. While it has been known for some time that the destruction of reefs through development and major projects, such as the cruise berthing plan, will have a negative impact on tourism here, this latest research gives us an idea of the devastating impact the loss of reefs will have on residents and the public purse.

With threats to coral reefs mounting as a result of climate change and other man-made problems, Cayman could do much more to protect its own coral reef shelf. But instead, government has backed away from implementing enhanced marine protection laws and is still proposing to put massive areas of the reef at risk as a result of the George Town berthing project.

The research shows that per capita, reefs provide the most benefits to small island states, including the Cayman Islands, Belize, Grenada, Cuba, Bahamas, Jamaica and the Philippines.

“Unfortunately, we are already losing the height and complexity of shallow reefs around the world, so we are likely already seeing increases in flood damages along many tropical coastlines,” said Dr Michael Beck, one of the authors and research professor at UC Santa Cruz. “Our national economies are normally only valued by how much we take from nature. For the first time, we can now value what every national economy gains in flood savings by conserving its coral reefs every year.”

The scientists say the research makes a compelling case for spending more on reef management.

“Coral reefs are living ecosystems that can recover if they are well-managed, and this study identifies why and where we should find the needed support for restoration and management,” said Beck. “It is our hope that this science will lead to action and greater stewardship of reefs around the world.”

Read the full article here


Category: Marine Environment, Science & Nature

Comments (12)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    I can assure you that all those people building houses on the coast don’t give a rats ass about reef this and environment that.

  2. Anonymous says:

    For years now, a chorus of international agencies (including NGOs, universities, and governments) have all published reports that 85% of Global Fisheries were already over-exploited or near fully-depleted. Left unchecked, by-catch, over-fishing, and habitat destruction (by climate change and/or pollution) will lead to a total collapse of all major global fisheries by 2048. UCLA DNA tests demonstrated that more than half of all sushi sold in North America is already intentionally mislabelled by distributors, or dyed red to pass as tuna. True World Foods, one of the largest global sushi fish distributors of the last 35 years, is controlled by widow Hak Ja Han Moon of the Unification Church. You can bet, like her husband before her, she doesn’t give a $#%@ about catch-technique, catch-limits, or correctly labelling species and provenance. Within our lifetimes, there’s going to be a serious human food supply problem – the entire industry fueled by the invention of DART polystyrene.

  3. Anonymous says:

    cayman without land ownership…even more costly?

  4. Anonymous says:

    Without reefs, Cayman tourist industry dies…

  5. Anonymous says:

    We need Paul Allen of microsoft

    • Anonymous says:

      He left Microsoft in 1983, and is “only” the 46th richest person in the world…why is this his problem?

      • Anonymous says:

        Clearly it was a pickisome joke referencing the irony of Mr. Allen’s (1) support of & interest in marine research and (2) the yacht he owns dropping anchor on and smashing up Cayman reef.

  6. Anonymous says:

    “With threats to coral reefs mounting as a result of climate change and other man-made problems, Cayman could do much more to protect its own coral reef shelf.“

    • Anonymous says:

      With man made solutions of course…

    • Anonymous says:

      Well for sure our goverment service here should fix back the reefs they destroyed making channels so there could be lots of breeding grounds in all those sounds frank sound south sound etc. All these creatures of the sea needs homes called reefs.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Don’t wait until the reefs are dead and your property is 25 feet underwater. I am offering Armageddon relief and willibg to buy any ocean or water front property for 100th of the Appraised value. Please dont wait until its too late.


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