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95% of Southeast Asia’s coral reefs at risk


Published on Feb 25, 2011

Climate change, overfishing and pollution are threatening almost 95% of Southeast Asia’s coral reefs, according to a new study. The World Resources Institute’s (WRI) ‘Reefs at Risk Revisited’ report found that the Southeast Asia is the world’s most severely threatened region, with 95% of reefs found to be at risk, and 50% in the high or very high threat category. Indonesia, second only to Australia in terms of total area of coral reefs, has the region’s largest area of threatened reef, followed by the Philippines. The WRI cited overfishing as the main threat to the marine ecosystems in Southeast Asia, followed by pollution and coastal development.

In the Indian Ocean region, more than 65% of reefs are at risk from local activities, with nearly 35% severely threatened. The Maldives has the largest area of reefs under low threat in the region. In the wider Pacific region, almost 50% of reefs are currently considered threatened, with about 20% rated as high or very high risk. Overfishing and run-off from land-based sources are the predominant threats, though coastal development is also a major pressure in some areas. On a positive note, Australia’s reefs are the world’s least threatened, with an estimated 14% at risk from local activities and just 1% facing a serious threat.

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