Better coral reef management is urged

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Better coral reef assessment and management are needed if the reefs are to survive global warming, a conservation group said Wednesday in Washington.

The International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources made the statement in releasing a report “Resilience Assessment of Coral Reefs.”

“We already know that climate change is destroying coral reefs through warming waters that cause coral bleaching and through acidifying oceans that hinders coral skeleton growth,” Garriel Grimsditch, the Geneva, Switzerland, organization’s corals expert said.

“We also know that if we want to save these beautiful living entities we must do something about it immediately.

“By better understanding and management of stresses on corals such as unsustainable and destructive fishing practices or unregulated coastal development, we can increase the chance of coral survival, even as climate change warms the oceans,” he said.

The report suggests damage done to corals depends not only on the rate and extent of climate change, but also on the ability of coral reefs to cope with change.

The conservation group said the need for quick results for measuring coral reef resilience is becoming increasingly acute.

“It is crucial to develop monitoring and assessment protocols to build an understanding of bleaching resistance and resilience indicators for application in management, and to determine how Marine Protected Area management actions can influence resilience and resistance,” the organization said.