VIDEO: How do coral reefs benefit the economy? Here's an overview in under two minutes. Transcript
Healthy coral reefs support commercial and subsistence fisheries as well as jobs and businesses through tourism and recreation. Approximately half of all federally managed fisheries depend on coral reefs and related habitats for a portion of their life cycles. The National Marine Fisheries Service estimates the commercial value of U.S. fisheries from coral reefs is over $100 million.
Local economies also receive billions of dollars from visitors to reefs through diving tours, recreational fishing trips, hotels, restaurants, and other businesses based near reef ecosystems.
Despite their great economic and recreational value, coral reefs are severely threatened by pollution, disease, and habitat destruction. Once coral reefs are damaged, they are less able to support the many creatures that inhabit them. When a coral reef supports fewer fish, plants, and animals, it also loses value as a tourist destination.
Healthy Corals are the foundation of our ocean’s food chain, from tiny plankton to the largest animals in the sea. And coral reefs are important to our economy, too. Healthy coral reefs contribute to fishing and tourism, providing millions of jobs and contributing to economies all over the world. Scientists develop important drugs from coral reef organisms as treatments for cancer, arthritis, and viruses. But corals are threatened by pollution and climate change. So we must protect our coral reefs. Because coral reefs are an important part of earth’s fragile ecosystem. We all benefit from a healthy planet and healthy coral reefs!