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Tue Feb 26, 2013, 04:48 PM

Coral comeback: Reef 'seeding' in the Caribbean

Feb 26, 3:55 PM EST

Coral comeback: Reef 'seeding' in the Caribbean

By DAVID McFADDEN
Associated Press

ORACABESSA BAY, Jamaica (AP) -- Mats of algae and seaweed have shrouded the once thick coral in shallow reefs off Jamaica's north coast. Warm ocean waters have bleached out the coral, and in a cascade of ecological decline, the sea urchins and plant-eating reef fish have mostly vanished, replaced by snails and worms that bore through coral skeletons.

Now, off the shores of Jamaica, as well as in Caribbean islands from Bonaire to St. Croix, conservationists are planting fast-growing coral species to try and turn things around by "seeding" reefs. The strategy has doubters, with one expert joking that prayer might be as effective, but conservationists say the problem is so catastrophic that inaction is not an option. According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature, live coral coverage on Caribbean reefs is down to an average of just 8 percent, from 50 percent in the 1970s.

Lenford Dacosta grew up in the north Jamaican fishing village of Oracabessa Bay and spear-fished the waters for most of his 46 years. Now he is part of a crew that tends to a small coral nursery in a fish sanctuary, hoping to revitalize the reef that sustained his village, whose shoreline is now dominated by ritzy resorts.

"I used to think that children would only hear about coral reefs and fish in books," said Dacosta, expressing hope that his work will yield fruit.

More:
http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/C/CB_CARIBBEAN_SAVING_CORAL?SECTION=HOME&SITE=AP&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT

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Reply Coral comeback: Reef 'seeding' in the Caribbean (Original post)
Judi Lynn Feb 2013 OP
MuseRider Feb 2013 #1
Joe Shlabotnik Feb 2013 #2

Response to Judi Lynn (Original post)

Tue Feb 26, 2013, 05:03 PM

1. This is so sad

it kills me to remember what once was and thinking about how it seems to be now. I do so hope this works. I can't imagine these islands without the reef and the reef fish that were so beautiful and abundant not all that many years ago.

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Response to Judi Lynn (Original post)

Tue Feb 26, 2013, 10:05 PM

2. I wish them luck,

but unfortunately they are only treating the symptoms.

"But across the globe, reefs that have proven resilient for thousands of years are in serious decline, degraded by overfishing, pollution, coastal development and warming ocean waters. And threats to coral are only expected to intensify as a result of climate change and ocean acidification due to greenhouse gases."

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