The findings warned that reefs along the eastern coast of Africa and island nations like Mauritius and Seychelles faced a high risk of extinction unless urgent action was taken.
Coral reefs in the Western Indian Ocean are threatened by rising sea temperature and overfishing, concludes that it may collapse in the next 50 years, according to a groundbreaking study of these marine ecosystems.
The findings, published in the journal Nature Sustainability on Monday, warned that Coral reefs along the eastern coast of Africa and island nations like Mauritius and Seychelles faced a high risk of extinction unless urgent action was taken.
For the first time, researchers were able to assess the vulnerability of individual reefs across the vast western reaches of the Indian Ocean and identify the main threats to coral reefs health.
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“The findings are quite serious. These reefs are vulnerable to collapse,” lead author David Obura, founding director at CORDIO East Africa, a Kenya-based oceans research institute, told AFP.
“There’s nowhere in the region where the reefs are in full health. They’ve all declined somewhat, and that will continue.”
The study, co-authored with the International Union for Conservation of Nature, assessed 11,919 square kilometres of reef, representing about five percent of the global total.
Reefs fringing picturesque island nations like Mauritius, Seychelles, the Comoros and Madagascar — popular ecotourism destinations heavily reliant on their marine environment — were most at risk, researchers said.