Status of coral reefs in the south central Caribbean
Caribbean corals have suffered from bleaching, diseases and Diadema die-off. Reefs on narrow shelves adjacent to high human population and many fishers (Colombia, CuraGao, Jamaica, Venezuela) suffer from imcreased terrestrial run- off and over-fishing, showing signs of degradation (fewer fish, more algae, less coral cover). Where shelves or banks are wide or far from human populations, reefs are less dis- turbed. Islands with fewer people and little fishing (Bonaire, Cayman) have good reef resources. Here, diving tourism is important, and there is more awareness of the need for reef conservation. Cayman has the best developed national coastal area management plan. Most of the other countries have Marine Protected Areas. These stimulate improved Coastal Area Management, aided by increasing numbers of Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs).