The country’s corals the Caribbean’s most threatened
Santo Domingo.-The country’s coral reef system is the most threatened in the Caribbean region, so much so that less than 10 percent of the marine biodiversity existing in the 1980s still remains.
The underwater structures grow from the calcium carbonate secreted by corals, which facilitate the production of food for fish.
The white sand which corals create contribute to the development of the tourism and fishing industries, and absorb the energy of the waves of tropical beaches.
They serve as habitat for marine life, for which the Environment Ministry banned fishing at sites that for part of that ecosystem.
Damage to reefs
Bleaching is one of the most daunting threats that corals face, which makes their recovery difficult and often die, according to UN Development Program technical assistant for Climate Change, Mario Peiró.
Bleaching is a weakening phenomenon that occurs when corals get stressed and expel symbiotic algae that give them color and nutrients.
And though pollution and overfishing occurs from process, warming of the oceans from climate change is also to blame.
“Pollution has done more damage than climate change, since all the elements that are dragged from the land to the sea contribute to bleaching,” Peiró said, quoted by El Dia.
He added that while recovery can occur in just months, it can take even years.