HEALTHY CORAL REEFS = HEALTHY PLANET

MEDICINE

Coral reef associated tourism is worth at least USD $10 billion annually

  • These rainforests of the sea are among the most biodiverse and productive ecosystems on earth
  •  25% of all fish species spend some portion of their life on a coral reef
  • They provide shelter, nursery areas and feeding grounds for thousands of animals
  • Coral reefs remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, mitigating global warming​
  • ​They aid in nutrient recycling and and provide important sources of nitrogen and other nutrients to marine food chains

Coral reefs: one of earth’s most important life support systems

  • At least 500 million people depend directly on coral reefs

  • One eighth of the world's population resides within 100 km of a coral reef 

  • Goods and services provided by coral reefs are worth from USD $30 - 172 billion annually

HOUSEHOLD PRODUCTS AND BUILDING MATERIALS

Coral reefs support commercial, subsistence and recreational fisheries, dive and snorkel industries, water sports and more

sponge fishery

JOBS AND INCOME

Corals, fish, molluscs and other secies are harvested for aquaria, curios and jewelry 

Coral rock is used for airstrips and roads, buildings (right) and filtration of septic systems (center), and it is also burned to produce lime for the manufacturing of cement.  Sponges have been harvested for centuries (left).

RECREATION AND TOURISM

Coral reefs are the medicine cabinets of the 21st century.  Sessile, attached invertebrates like sponges (left) and gorgonians (right) produce chemical compounds for defense or attack. These may treat cancer, arthritis, asthma, ulcers, bacterial infections, heart disease, viruses, and other diseases. Corals, sea cucumbers and seahorses are also used as nutritional supplements and enzymes and in bone grafts and cosmetics

A healthy reef produces 5-15 tons of seafood per square kilometer per year!

Coral reefs dissipate wave energy (left), prevent physical damage to buildings and reduce coastal erosion (center), provide sand that forms beaches (right), and build islands