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Coral bleaching remains a concern

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The 2018 Mesoamerican Reef Report is based on the new study of 319 coral reef sites along one thousand kilometers of the Caribbean coast of Mexico, Belize, Guatemala, and Honduras. One of the key findings of the study is that coral bleaching remains a concern; in 2015 and 2016, twenty-one percent of corals bleached. Director for the Healthy Reefs for Healthy People Initiative, Dr. Melanie McField, explained.

DR. MELANIE McFIELD, DIRECTOR, HRI

“It was pretty significant more than half the Corals were bleaching and there was a little bit of mortality so you know this is something; we kind of escaped those two earlier years just because the hot water didn’t come in as bad as long and sometimes if you have a hurricane pass offshore then that mixes and cools the water so a lot of this is you know not thanks to our great management but its thanks to the grace of god and we hope that we won’t have warm water come and cook the reef and that is a possibility and if we don’t get a handle on climate change then the root cause of is that really can happen.”

To prevent that from happening, the increase in coral cover including species that are important for reef building and coastal protection must be addressed. Vice President of Oceana Belize, Janelle Chanona says that everyone must play a role.

JANELLE CHANONA, V.P., OCEANA BELIZE

“So one of the things we can do as citizens every day to help is to be informed. We know what is happening in our neighborhoods better than anybody else so no matter where you are you actually have something marine related happening in your lives for instance If you see you live in Belize city and you see something unusual or new growth on the rocks in front of the seawall that you work out that every day.”

Honduras had the highest reef health index followed by Belize and Mexico.

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