Home | Login | Logout | View Survey/Sites | Add Survey/Sites | My Account | UserID:

View site #952 > ScoreCard for survey #1 > Issue

Introduction | Identification | Impacts | Causes | Actions | More Info

What are some of the biological and physical impacts to coral reefs?

Structural damage to coral reefs is the most acute impact caused by divers, snorkelers, and reef-walkers. Reefs can be damaged through direct impacts such as collecting animals or parts of animals for souvenirs; anchoring on reefs: tripping over, walking on and crushing animals: and by gleaning activities. Divers and reef-walkers can also stir up sediments which may choke and smother corals. Over time, the combined impacts of divers, snorkelers, and reef walkers can cause substantial damage to reefs and diminish their ability to provide food and shelter for the many species reefs normally support.

What are the impacts to local communities and economies?

Diving-related tourism is expanding at a rate of 20% per year worldwide (Cesar et al. 2003) and can have significant impacts on coral reefs and local communities unless tourist activities are designed to be conscientious and compatible with what local resources can support. Increased tourism from divers and snorkelers can boost local economies and provide employment opportunities in the short-term, but can have long-term negative impacts on local resources without proper management. The popularity of a local reef as a tourist destination is dependent on the health of that reef. Therefore, it is in a community’s interest to ensure that tourism activities are managed in a sustainable manner.

The dependence of coastal living people on coral reef resources for subsistence and as a source of income can lead to their depletion. As marine resources become scarce, an increased use of harvesting methods that are effective in the short-term often becomes destructive in the long-term. Immediate subsistence and income needs may be satisfied, but over time, coral reefs will no longer have the ability to sustain the populations of fish and invertebrates that people need.. Where gleaning on shallow reef areas is done, the amount of damaged caused by harvesters walking on and disturbing reef surfaces may increase as target animals are depleted. This can lead to a further rapid decline in reef resources if conservation measures are not put in place.
Boat mooring buoy at Klein Bonaire Marine Park. Location: Bonaire, Netherlands Antilles Photo by: J. Oliver (from ReefBase: http://www.reefbase.org)
Privacy Statement | Site Map | Terms of Use

Web site hosted at ReefBase