Reef Briefs (May 08)

Here's a quick summary of some recent international articles on reef and marine issues.

Dr J.E.N. Veron, leading coral specialist, highlights the plight of the Great Barrier Reef. He says "here I am today, utterly convinced that the Great Barrier Reef will not be there for our children's children to enjoy. Unless we dramatically and immediately change our priorities, and the way we live".

Indeed a study finds growing ocean acidity may erode coastal ecosystems due to rising carbon dioxide emissions. At one spot in northern California, waters acidic enough to corrode seashells now rake the shore, researchers point out.

While a wave of predatory starfish decimate Palawan’s reefs. One possible reason, "most of the predators that provide a natural control mechanism for the starfish are long gone". These include Napoleon Wrasse (Mameng), Harlequin Shrimp, Giant Triton (Budyong) and larger types of pufferfish.

Cyclone Nagis in Maymar highlights the importance of our coastal habitats. The ASEAN chief and UN Food and Agriculture Organisation says Myanmar cyclone damage worsened by loss of mangroves and IUCN urged Myanmar to restore mangroves, reefs and other natural barriers to protect against natural disasters. While WWF says environmental protection vital to reducing natural disaster impact.

There's some good news in global marine biodiversity: WWF reports record birthrate of leatherback turtles in Costa Rica, while a study reports population increase in the North Pacific humpback whales,

On the other hand, reports suggest that the majority of oceanic shark species face extinction as a result of over-fishing. A report suggests weddings boost shark's fin consumption in Singapore, while there are reports of health hazards of eating shark's fins due to high mercury levels.

While a blue whale nursery threatened by fish farms.

You CAN make a difference

In Singapore, join upcoming activities and efforts for our reefs and shores.

Visit Cyrene Reef, a special reef in the middle of our port. Join the blogging contest to get a seat on upcoming working trips to Cyrene.

In Malaysia, to celebrate International Year of the Reef, a group of volunteers is surveying the reefs on several islands in Malaysia under the Sustainable Island Programme.

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