How Global Warming and Fishing are Threatening its Survival

upsetsubduedManagement

Nov 9, 2013 (3 years and 9 months ago)

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How Global
Warming

and
Fishing are Threatening its Survival

Global Warming


The gradual increase in the temperature of the earth's atmosphere, believed to be
due to the greenhouse effect, caused by increased levels of carbon dioxide,
chlorofluorocarbons, and other pollutants.










-

Global warming is a one of the main threats to the survival of the Mesoamerican
Barrier Reef

Coral Bleaching


Occurs when the algae the coral relies on for nutrients is separated from the
reef


This ultimately leads to the death of the coral









The Mesoamerican Barrier Reef has undergone two major coral
bleachings
:


-

1995


10% of the coral colonies died


-

1997
-
97


48% of the coral colonies were damaged and/or dead

Causes of Coral Bleaching


Increased exposure to UV radiation


Heavy rains flooding the reef


Exposure of the reef to chemicals or diseases


Dirt or sand covering the reef (impeding photosynthesis)


Excess ammonia and nitrates as a result of fertilizers and cleaning products
entering the reef





With continuous coral bleaching, the reed will have little to no chance of
survival

Hurricane Mitch


The most powerful hurricane of the 1998 Atlantic Hurricane season


The deadliest hurricane since the Great Hurricane of 1780


Resulted in massive rainfalls in Belize causing flooding


This flooding consequently flooded the reef

Greenhouse Gases


Carbon dioxide is one of the main contributors to the greenhouse gases


Current CO₂ in atmosphere is 387
ppm


Estimated concentration of CO₂ in atmosphere by 2035 is 450
ppm



this would
result in a “severe mass bleaching” of the reef and destroy its ability to grow

Effects of Greenhouse Gases on the
Reef


Greenhouse gases in atmosphere (carbon dioxide, methane) make the ocean
around the reef warmer (greenhouse effect) and more acidic


This alters the ability of the reef to calcify


a process that helps the coral grow
and strengthen

Effect of Warmer Water
Temperatures


Warmer water temperatures result in less effective photosynthesis


This results in an increase of products that poison the
zooxanthellae

(the algae
coral relies on for nutrients)


The coral saves itself by releasing the
zooxanthellae
, but without the
zooxanthellae

the coral essentially starves to death


Increased UV Radiation


Hinders the coral and algae from undergoing photosynthesis


Consequently


less energy available to the overall marine ecosystem

Possible Consequences


If global warming continues at its current rate:



The Mesoamerican Barrier Reef will stop growing by 2050


Numerous ecosystems will be lost


Increased ocean acidity will make it more difficult for the reef to form an outer
shell (skeleton)

Fishing


Fishing is threatening the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef


The overexploitation of different fishes by recreational and commercial
fisheries is resulting in a rapid decline in fish populations

Overfishing


Overfishing results in devastating impacts on the reef


It affects:

-

The reef’s ecological balance and biodiversity

-

Fish size and abundance

-

Species composition and genotype diversity

-

As well as the overall value of the coral reef ecosystem



Impacts of Overfishing

The Domino Effect


Fishing for a particular species not only affects that particular species, but also
those directly and indirectly reliant on it


Ex: the grouper fish

-
The overfishing of grouper can lead to an increase of damselfish, which is a
major food supply for the grouper fish.

-
Damselfish help create pockets in corals that are important for coral reef life

-
If the damselfish population isn’t controlled by natural predation, the algae
which occupy the pockets can take over a reef, eventually killing it

Ecosystem Overfishing

Protection of the Reef


The Global Environment Facility has developed a
project to conserve the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef:



Conservation and Sustainable Use of the
Mesoamerican Barrier Reef System (MBRS)




This Project Entails...


“The global objective of the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef Project is to enhance
protection of the ecologically unique and vulnerable marine ecosystems
comprising the MBRS, by assisting the littoral states to strengthen and
coordinate national policies, regulations and institutional arrangements for the
conservation and sustainable use of this global public good. The GEF Project
will, therefore, assist Mexico, Belize, Guatemala and Honduras to: (
i
)
strengthen existing MPAs and establish new protected areas in
transboundary

locations; (ii) develop and implement a standardized regional monitoring and
environmental information system for the MBRS; (iii) promote measures to
reduce non
-
sustainable patterns of resource use in the MBRS, focusing initially
on the fisheries and tourism sectors; (iv) increase local and national capacity
for environmental management through education, information sharing and
training; and (v) strengthen and coordinate national policies, regulations, and
institutional arrangements for marine ecosystem conservation and sustainable
use.” (
MBRS
-
Project Terminal Evaluation Report â

” IW:LEARN. (
n.d
.).
International Waters Learning Exchange and Resource Network â

” IW:LEARN
.
Retrieved June 27, 2011, from http://iwlearn.net/iw
-
projects/Fsp_112799467864/
)




To achieve these goals, the project
consisted of four components:



1.
Marine Protected Areas


planning, management, and
monitoring of Marine Protected Areas and institutional
strengthening.


2.
Regional Environmental Information System


Creation and implementation of distributed Web
-
based
Regional Environmental Information System and the
establishment of a Synoptic Monitoring Program.


3.
Promoting Sustainable Use of the MBRS


promotion
of sustainable fisheries, management and facilitation of
low
-
impact coastal and marine tourism.


4.
Public Awareness and Environmental Education


Development of an environmental awareness campaign
and formal and informal education.

In Conclusion to the Project


“Threats to the MBRS will not be addressed without a
significant commitment from the international community
to assist the four countries to tackle some of these issues.
These threats will not be negated by a single project, and
continued support will have to be sought from a variety of
sources to systematically address these threats. The strong
foundation set by this project, however, provides a sound
framework for future investments.” (
MBRS
-
Project
Terminal Evaluation Report â

” IW:LEARN. (
n.d
.).
International Waters Learning Exchange and Resource
Network â

” IW:LEARN
. Retrieved June 27, 2011, from
http://iwlearn.net/iw
-
projects/Fsp_112799467864/evaluations/project
-
terminal
-
evaluation
-
report/view)



Bibliography


Belize Barrier Reef. (
n.d
.).
Caribbean Islands
. Retrieved June 27, 2011, from http://www.le
-
caribbean
-
islands.com/belize
-
barrier
-
reef.html


Belize Barrier Reef
-

Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. (
n.d
.).
Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
.
Retrieved June 27, 2011, from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Belize_Barrier_Reef


Caribbean/Latin America CRSD Sites | Coral Reef Alliance. (
n.d
.).
Welcome | Coral Reef Alliance
.
Retrieved June 27, 2011, from http://www.coral.org/where_we_work/caribbean


Conservation and Sustainable Use of the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef System (MBRS) â

” IW:LEARN.
(
n.d
.).
International Waters Learning Exchange and Resource Network â

” IW:LEARN
. Retrieved June
27, 2011, from http://iwlearn.net/iw
-
projects/Fsp_112799467864


Coral bleaching
-
Key text. (
n.d
.).
Home
-

Australian Academy of Science
. Retrieved June 27, 2011, from
http://www.science.org.au/nova/076/076key.htm


Global Warming Threatens Planet. (
n.d
.).
Home | Environmental Law Alliance Worldwide (ELAW)
.
Retrieved June 27, 2011, from http://www.elaw.org/book/export/html/1225


Hurricane Mitch
-

Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. (
n.d
.).
Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
.
Retrieved June 27, 2011, from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hurricane_Mitch


MBRS
-
Project Terminal Evaluation Report â

” IW:LEARN. (
n.d
.).
International Waters Learning
Exchange and Resource Network â

” IW:LEARN
. Retrieved June 27, 2011, from http://iwlearn.net/iw
-
projects/Fsp_112799467864/evaluations/project
-
terminal
-
evaluation
-
report/view