Calling on governments and others to act to protect coral reefs

Coral reef managers from around the world are calling on governments and others who can influence environmental protection to ensure coral reefs are sustainably managed world-wide.

The Call to Action from the International Coral Reef Initiative (ICRI), a global partnership that strives to protect coral reefs and related ecosystems across the world, came at their 28th General Meeting in Belize last month. The International Coral Reef Initiative involves more than 60 members and includes governments, international organisations and nongovernment organisations raising awareness on the plight of coral reefs around the world. ICRI Co-Chair for Belize Beverly Wade said countries were now at a crossroad when it came to protecting their valuable coral reefs.

“Countries must act now to increase the resilience of their reefs on which coastal communities depend or else they will witness the demise of these reefs in the years to come,” she said.

“Ocean acidification, unsustainable fishing practices, coastal development and pollution are among the local and global issues affecting sensitive marine ecosystems.”

The Continuing Call to Action was one of four resolutions and recommendations approved by delegates attending the 28th General Meeting of ICRI.

It modernises the initial Call to Action adopted at the inaugural ICRI meeting in 1995, which set out for pillars for action: integrated management, capacity building, science and monitoring, and review; and reiterates the urgency to act for coral reefs.

A Framework for Action 2013, which identifies mechanisms by which the Call could be implemented, was also adopted by delegates last month.

A Continuing Call to Action 2013 and The Framework for Action 2013
A Continuing Call to Action 2013
The Framework for Action 2013

The international partnership also voted to urge nations and regional organisations of the wider Caribbean to protect parrotfish (and similar herbivores) to improve coral reef resilience and restore ecosystem balance (Recommendation on addressing the decline of coral reef throughout the wider Caribbean: the taking of parrotfish and similar herbivores)