Publication Type
Conference Proceedings
UWI Author(s)
Author, Analytic
Gayle, Peter; McNaught, Michelle
Author Role
Author Affiliation
Discovery Bay Marine Laboratory
Paper/Section Title
Reefs and their dependents - The benefits of environmental stewardship
Medium Designator
Connective Phrase
Reeson, Peter; Rose, Don
Editor/Compiler Role
Proceedings Title
Jamaica Institute of Environmental Professionals - Third National Conference on the Environment
Date of Meeting
May 15-17, 2007
Place of Meeting
Kingston, Jamaica
Place of Publication
Kingston, Jamaica
Publisher Name
Jamaica Institute of Environmental Professionals
Date of Publication
Date of Copyright
Volume ID
Location in Work
Extent of Work
Packaging Method
Series Editor
Series Editor Role
Series Title
Series Volume ID
The social, cultural and economic importance of coral reefs to SIDS cannot be overstated. Today approximately 1 bil people around the world depend on the sea as primary source of protein. Approximately 0.09% of sea floor is reef that acts as a home/nursery to 25% of all known marine species (1,000,000 species) of plants and animals. In the mid 1980's Jamaica's north coast reefs displayed a significant phase shift from a coral dominated system to a macroalgal dominated system. Mean coral cover declined from 52% to 3% while mean fleshly macro-algae increased from 4% to 92%. During this time the reefs were also been subjected to several hurricanes and bleaching events. The continued exploitation of herbivorous fishes and in some cases the addition of excess nutrients to the system have also been cited as primary factors contributing to the local loss of coral cover on our reefs. Acropora species, first levelled by Hurricane Allen in the 1980s have also been impacted by disease, low fragment survival following storms and failures of sexual reproduction and larval-driven recovery proceeses and has not yet recovered. They are very important to the 3 dimensional structure of the reef as they affect the ability of the reef to serve as a fisheries habitat. The loss of this species from reef systems therefore represents a lss of critical habitat, and is a serious threat to biodiversity and the natural functioning of our reefs. There are associated impacts related to the dimished potential for sustainable diving / snorkelling and associated tourism activities that generate significant amounts of revenue for coastal populations with direct and indirect linkages to the entire island economy. This raises attention to the need for effective environmental management plans which can conserve, restore and sustain reef habitat as well as those of associated ecosystems through mechanisms such as coral gardening, institution of marine protected areas or the installation of artifical reefs. The potential for partnerships between industries utilising environmental resources and the entities carrying out research or mitigative actions in these ecosystems, to the benefit of all concerned is demonstrated. The value and advantages of proper environmental stewardship practices is therefore confirmed.....
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