Status of St. Eustatius’s Reef
Five major studies of St. Eustatius’ coral reefs have taken place over the past five years and have shed light on the rapid decline of the island’s coral cover and the shift from coral dominated to algaedominated benthic communities. This shift is being observed throughout the Wider Caribbean Region and is a wake-up call for all involved in the protection of coral reefs. Local threats must be minimized to enable the recovery of the island’s reefs and ensure their resilience to mounting global threats such as ocean warming and severe weather events (hurricanes). The recovery of St. Eustatius’ reefs is not just of great importance from an ecological standpoint but also an economic one. Approximately 10% of the island’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is generated through coral-reef-associated tourism and fishery (Bervoets, 2010).
This news-item was published in BioNews 5-2017.