ICRI News

At the occasion of the G7 Environment Ministers' Meeting held in Metz, France, on May 5th and 6th, the International Coral Reef Initiative was chosen as one of the initiatives to be presented. This was an opportunity to continue to raise the plight for coral reefs and to strengthen the initiative.

Nature is declining globally at rates unprecedented in human history — and the rate of species extinctions is accelerating, with grave impacts on people around the world now likely, warns a landmark new report from the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES), the summary of which was approved at the 7th session of the IPBES Plenary, meeting last week (29 April – 4 May) in Paris.

The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) released the findings of a new, in-depth study titled "Rigorously Valuing the Role of U.S. Coral Reefs in Coastal Hazard Risk Reduction" (funded in part by the U.S. Department of the Interior's (DOI) Office of Insular Affairs) demonstrating annual benefits of coral reefs including a flood-protection barrier for more than 18,000 coastal citizens and $1.8 billion worth of coastal infrastructure in the United States and its trust territories. The study will help managers take effective actions to reduce the risk to, and increase the resiliency of, U.S. mainland and U.S. insular area coastal communities to flooding and other hazards.

Stony coral tissue loss disease (SCTLD) is a new lethal disease first reported in Florida in 2014. The cause of the disease is unknown but it is affecting >20 species of corals especially brain, pillar, star and starlet corals. The disease spreads quickly causing high coral mortality. Outbreaks of SCTLD have been noted in other parts of the Caribbean: Jamaica, Mexican Caribbean, St. Maarten and, most recently St. Thomas, USVI and the Dominican Republic.

The Nature Conservancy (TNC) has announced details of ambitious $40 million initiative to promote ocean conservation

The initiative, which was announced at a TED talk in Vancouver today, is based on delivering Blue Bonds to up to 20 countries over the next five years. The international environmental non-profit organisation hopes that these will help ensure the new protection of up to 1.5 million square miles of the world's most biodiversity-critical ocean habitats - a 15 percent increase in the amount of protected ocean that currently exists.

With the support of Professional SCUBA Schools International (PSS), the Green Fins Dive Guide e-Course has been launched. This is the only course available which teaches dive professionals how to prevent diving-related damage to coral reefs by following the highest environmental standards, as set out by the Green Fins initiative. Dive guides can access the course for free here and have the option of donating £19 ($24) to support Green Fins' work around the world and receive a personalised electronic certificate.

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