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Environmental groups call for increased protection of coral reefs
Date:1/24/2008

Washington, DC (Jan. 24, 2008) As 17 countries and 30 organizations launch the International Year of the Reef today, three major environmental groups World Wildlife Fund, The Nature Conservancy and Conservation International call on governments, businesses, scientists, non-governmental organizations and individuals around the world to vastly increase actions to protect coral reefs. The International Year of the Reef 2008, designated by the International Coral Reef Initiative, is a worldwide campaign to raise awareness about the value and importance of coral reefs and to motivate action to protect them.

In 2003, the World Parks Congress urged that at least 20 to 30 percent of each marine habitat should be protected by 2012. At current levels of effort, this goal will not be achieved for coral reefs. Given the importance of these systems for ocean life and human well-being, and the special stresses they face because of climate change, the need to act now is critical. WWF, The Nature Conservancy and Conservation International specifically urge that:

  • The area of coral reefs under protection be increased globally from the current level of 15 percent to 30 percent;

  • That protected areas be carefully designed as systems that are able to resist or recover rapidly from the multiple stresses they face, including those caused by climate change;

  • That within these protected area systems there be significant areas where human uses are significantly limited so that already stressed marine species can recover; and

  • That governments and civil society work together to achieve the effective management of all coral reef protected areas.

Unless these actions are taken, there is little likelihood that the worlds coral systems will be there to sustain and protect future generations.

Bill Eichbaum, vice-president and managing director at WWF, noted, Coral reefs face some of the
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Contact: Lisa Bowen
lbowen@conservation.org
703-341-2601
Conservation International
Source:Eurekalert

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