Coral reefs are the largest living structure on the planet, and the only living structure to be visible from space.
The Great Barrier Reef (off the coast of NE Australia) is the largest coral reef in the world. It is over 1,257 miles (2000 km) long.
Coral reefs form natural barriers that protect nearby shorelines from the eroding forces of the sea, thereby protecting coastal dwellings, agricultural land and beaches.
Scientists are looking to coral reefs to provide critical medical compounds for use in the treatment of cancer, HIV, cardiovascular diseases and ulcers.
32 of the 34 recognised animal Phyla are found on coral reefs compared to 9 Phyla in tropical rainforests.1
Occupying less than one quarter of 1% of the marine environment, coral reefs are home to more than 25% of all known marine fish species.
Properly managed coral reefs can yield an average of 15 tonnes of fish and other seafood per square kilometre each year.
Southeast Asia’s coral reef fisheries alone are estimated to yield US$ 2.4 billion annually.
More than 80% of the world’s shallow reefs are severely over-fished.
58% of the world’s coral reefs are potentially threatened by human activity.
Coral reefs are found in 109 countries; significant reef degradation has occurred in 93.
From 1876-1979 only three bleaching events were recorded, whereas 60 are on record from 1980 until 1993.
We have already lost 27% of the world’s coral reefs. If present rates of destruction are allowed to continue, 60% of the world’s coral reefs will be destroyed over the next 30 years.
More than 450 million people live within 60 kilometres of coral reefs, with the majority directly or indirectly deriving food and income from them.
The total economic value of Indonesia ‘s reefs is estimated at US$1.6 billion annually.
The total economic value of Philippine reefs is estimated at US$1.1 billion annually.
Coral reefs in the Malacca Straits have an economic value of US$563 million.
Globally, tourism is estimated to provide US$9.6 billion in annual net benefits and a multiple of this amount in tourism spending.
Southeast Asia is considered the global epicentre of marine diversity. Its 100,000km2 of coral reefs (34% of the world’s total) are home to over 600 of the 800 reef-building coral species in the world.
Indonesia and the Philippines hold 77% of Southeast Asia’s coral reefs and nearly 80% of threatened reefs.