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75 Percent of Coral Reefs Under Threat

New Analysis Released by the World Resources Institute

February 25, 2011
This report serves as a wake-up for policy-makers, business leaders, ocean managers, and others about the urgent need for greater protection for coral reefs. As this report makes clear local and global threats, including climate change, are already having significant impacts on coral reefs—putting the future of these beautiful and valuable ecosystems at risk."

Dr. Jane Lubchenco, under secretary of commerce for oceans and atmosphere and NOAA administrator.

Seventy-five percent of the world's coral reefs are currently threatened by local and global pressures, according to a comprehensive analysis released by the World Resources Institute, along with the Nature Conservancy, the WorldFish Center, the International Coral Reef Action Network, Global Coral Reef Monitoring Network, the UNEP-World Conservation Monitoring Center, and a network of more than 25 partner organizations, including NOAA.

For the first time, the analysis includes threats from climate change, including warming seas and rising ocean acidification.

The most immediate and direct threats arise from local sources, which currently threaten more than 60% of coral reefs. Local threats include impacts from fishing, coastal development, and pollution. Left unchecked, the percent of threatened reefs will increase to more than 90% by 2030 and to nearly all reefs by 2050.

Visit NOAA's Coral Reef Conservation Program for more on this report, including links to social media resources and supporting video.

"Reefs at Risk Revisited" was launched globally on Wednesday, February 23, 2011 with events in Washington, D.C.; London, England; Malaysia; Australia; and other locations. Jane Lubchenco, Ph.D., under secretary of commerce for oceans and atmosphere and NOAA administrator was the featured speaker at the D.C. event at the National Press Club. This event also featured presentations by Jonathan Lash, President, WRI; Lauretta Burke, lead author, WRI; and Dr. Nancy Knowlton, Chair of Marine Science, Smithsonian Institution.