( Image by Stuart Cove’s Dive Bahamas www.stuartcove.com )

CORAL REEFS

As an archipelagic nation of over 700 islands, the sea is as much a part of The Bahamas as the land, and is vital to the ecology, economy and culture of The Bahamas. Of particular importance are the coral reefs, which harbor the greatest diversity and abundance of life in The Bahamas. These reefs support a thriving tourism industry, harbor important fishery resources that feed the nation and are vital to the economy, and protect the coastal zone where homes and tourism is concentrated. The Bahamas has more coral reef area than any other nation in the region and boasts one of the world’s largest contiguous coral reefs, the Andros barrier reef.

What Perry Institute for Marine Science is Doing

Perry Institute for Marine Science has developed a 10-year program aimed at improving the health of coral reefs throughout The Bahamas. Perry Institute for Marine Science along with strategic partners has developed a coral reef strategic plan for The Bahamas. During this process, we identified key conservation targets, identified specific threats to these conservation targets and factors contributing to these threats. Comprehensive strategies to address these threats and factors that contribute to them have also been developed to include components related to research, conservation, restoration, public policy, marine resource management, education and communications. Individual strategies may focus on reducing or eliminating a specific threat, mitigating impacts of the threat, or building resilience of ecosystems to recover from one or more threats. Over the next 9 years, Perry Institute for Marine Science will be executing this long-term strategic plan to protect and restore Bahamian coral reefs along with key marine species.

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Why It Matters

Threats to Bahamian reefs include local threats such as inappropriate coastal development and unsustainable fishing practices that reduce populations of key species; regional threats such as invasive species and the spread of disease that can further impact corals and species needed to maintain balance in reef ecosystems; and global threats such as climate change. Where reef building corals once thrived and created the habitat needed to support a diversity of sea life, the majority of the coral has died off and been replaced by algae and other organisms that can destroy reef structure. As a result, the ability of reefs to support biodiversity and ecosystem services to people has been compromised.

Recent Publications

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HOW TO HELP

Through your support, Perry Institute for Marine Science can continue to protect our marine environment.

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