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Rescue of the Caribbean Sea Reefs

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Javier Soto González. Universidad Politécnica de Madrid Student (ETSICCP).

The reefs in the Caribbean Sea is one of Mexico’s biggest attractions for tourism and has the second largest reef in the world behind only the Great Barrier Reef in Australia. In the reef area we can find 65 species of stony corals, 350 species of mollusks and more than 500 species of fish. In addition, it is a refuge for many endangered species, such as sea turtles -green turtle, loggerhead turtle, leatherback turtle and hawksbill turtle-, queen conch, Caribbean manatee, American crocodile, Morelet crocodile which is important for the ecosystem. But today they drag a great deterioration and many specialists try to remedy so that the deterioration of the corals by hurricanes and tourists.

The problem has become so big in recent years in which there should be 16% corals now only 1-2%. Scientists are concerned as reefs protect the coast from the strong waves of storms and hurricanes and are home to numerous species of commercial interest. Reefs are the basis of Quintana Roo’s economic and social activities.

Tailandia prohíbe el uso de protectores solares con químicos que dañen a  los arrecifes de coral - AlbertoNews - Periodismo sin censura


In addition to the threat of hurricanes and humans, a big problem that Caribbean reefs are going through is coral bleaching and ocean acidification, produced by climate change. The main cause of that is the increase in temperature and what it causes is that the corals expel the algae.

The main effects on the ecosystem due to coral bleaching are the following:

1. It affects about 20 of the more than 45 species of corals

2. Mortality rates are very high: affected corals die in a matter of weeks

3. Its geographical range is very wide and continues to expand month by month

For Mexicans the reefs mean millions of euros in the Yucatan region and these boast numerous benefits in the region. Due to the importance of reefs in this area, the government, universities and civil society organizations are actively working collaboratively to monitor the progress of the epidemic and be able to take preventive measures. And the big problem that no one can solve is that the degradation of corals is due to water quality and the increase in temperature which still has no plan to stop this deterioration. Some of the measures which have been put in place are:

Do not touch coral lesions

not to cause suspension of sediment when swimming during diving or snorkeling or any activity you have

rinse snorkeling and water diving equipment with 5-10% chlorine

do not use sunscreens

The problem is to be able to control all the companies that offer this diving service and make the people who visit these beautiful places aware that if they continue to do things as they are doing today, soon these corals will disappear and the beautiful Mexican sea will lose many tourists. Los arrecifes de coral pueden quedarse sin hábitats adecuados para 2100


In this image you can see the bleaching of corals and according to several scientists if the problem continues like this, by 3 the year 2100 the Caribbean would run out of reefs which would kill and many species.

In order to raise awareness in people, then we are going to put the benefits that reefs provide for the ecosystem and for the world.

They serve as habitat for 25% of marine species, including those for human consumption and are of great importance for fishing.

1. Coral reefs contribute to the reduction of greenhouse gases

2. They benefit more than 500 million people living near the coast by providing them with food security.

3. Provide jobs for millions of tourism workers

In coral ecosystems, medicinal components have been found in several marine species that inhabit them.

We have to start acting to conserve these places, I had the opportunity to dive in the reefs of Yucatan and it is something beautiful which I recommend to anyone, but more than caring about the views they give us, we have to focus that if the reefs run out the entire planet would be seriously affected and our life changed completely.



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