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).
Proceedings of the International Coral Reef Symposium
The Lesser Antilles include high volcanic islands with a limited marine shelf, and low coralline islands with a more extensive shelf. Withinthe group, reefs are affected to a greater or lesser degree by widely differing conditions of rainfall and runoff, hurricane damage, recreational use and fishing pressure. While degradation is reported in many areas, there are few long-term studies that quantify trends in reef status. In recent years there has been an increase in the number of management initiatives, and in the number of reef areas under active and effective management.