Protect Dying Coral Reefs in the Caribbean

Target: Secretary-General of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Irwin LaRocque and CARICOM Chairman Kenny Anthony

Goal: Protect Caribbean coral reefs from overfishing, pollution, and the rampant burning of fossil fuels.

Coral reefs, some of the most awe-inspiring spectacles on Earth are dying at a truly alarming rate in the Caribbean Sea. In fact, now more than ever we are in danger of losing these marvelous and diverse ecosystems. Unless swift and decisive steps are taken to protect and preserve the coral reefs the possibility of them fading from the Earth could become a reality.

Despite the relatively small percentage of the Earth that reefs cover, they are home to over 25% of the planet’s marine species. Reef systems represent one of the highest rates of biodiversity on the planet— over 4000 species of fish call reefs home; not to mention the invertebrates, algae, birds, plants, reptiles, and amphibians who live in or near coral reefs.

The importance of these ecosystems cannot be overstated. Not only do they possess massive biological significance but they represent a major financial boon as well. They are linchpins of the tourism and fishing industries, and provide invaluable protection against potentially harmful hurricanes.  The economic benefit that reefs offer is valued literally in the billions. Areas such as the Bahamas and Virgin Islands (truthfully most of the Caribbean) depend on tourism as their primary industry. The destruction of the coral reefs could potentially decimate their economies, plunging their citizens into dizzying depths of poverty.

In the 1970s over half of the Caribbean’s reefs had live coral growth according to a recent report by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN). Today that number is at 8% and steadily dropping in some parts of the region. The coral reefs that were once bountiful throughout the Caribbean are falling victim to reckless overfishing, wanton pollution, and the rampant burning of fossil fuels.

It is time to take action. If we do not the right decisions now we risk losing the reefs forever. Protect these fragile environments; please sign the petition below.

Dear Secretary-General LaRocque and Chairman Anthony,

The coral reefs of the Caribbean are dying at an alarming rate. We have reached a crucial moment in time and if action is not taken immediately we could lose the reefs forever.

Coral reefs in the Caribbean and across the world represent a veritable treasure trove of scientific knowledge and potential. They sport one of the highest rates of biodiversity of any ecosystem, with many thousands of individual species calling them home, including 25% of Earth’s marine species. With an entire quarter of the planet’s sea life living in or around reefs, the loss of habitat would be crippling blow to biological study as well as to the Earth’s natural wonder.

There is a human side to this too—the lives and financial well being of countless people are tied to the reefs. Coral reefs attract millions of visitors every year; visitors that are essential to the Caribbean economy. Without the money that these tourists pump into local economies and the thousands of service industry jobs that they support local populations will certainly suffer. It is high time to regulate the fishing industry, offshore drilling, and the dumping of pollutants. These industries currently run roughshod over the reefs and they will destroy them and if they continue on in this manner they will destroy the reefs.

The coral reefs should be of utmost importance to everyone, especially the Caribbean Community. It’s time for CARICOM to take a firm stance on this issue. The Caribbean needs the reefs, without them the region will suffer financially and the world will suffer scientifically. CARICOM must take proactive measures to protect the reefs of the Caribbean Sea before it’s too late.

Sincerely,

(Your name here)

Photo credit: Hans via Pixabay

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Signatures

  • Alper Arslan
  • Jenna Miles
  • Jeanie Streit
  • mylene berthet
  • Helene Beck
  • Peter Kelly
  • Laetitia Schartner
  • hooppole
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