What are coral reefs?
•Underwater structures made from calcium
carbonate (limestone) secreted by coral
Belize Barrier Reef is the largest barrier reef in the
western hemisphere at 220 km in length and runs from the
Yucatan (southern Mexico) to the Gulf of Honduras.
“The most remarkable reef in the West Indies” – Charles Darwin, 1842
The Greater Caribbean region is
heavily dominated by fringing reefs.
In many cases these are extensive
and well developed.
Eg. those that parallel much of the
coast of Cuba, and the east coasts of
Andros Island and Eleuthera in The
Fringing reefs also encircle most of
the smaller islands of the Caribbean
region such as Aruba, Bonaire,
Antigua, and the Cayman Islands.
Destruction of Coral Reefs
Over the last 30 years, Caribbean coral reefs have suffered enormous declines.
• Overdevelopment of coastal areas (land settlement)
• Declines in water quality (Pollution)
• Destructive Fishing Practices (Cyanide fishing, Overfishing, Blast fishing)
• Careless Tourism
• Ocean Warming and Coral Bleaching (CO2 causes stress and “algae vomit”)
• Ozone Depletion (Corals need sun block?)
Coral Reefs and Society & Culture
Why should we care?
Coastal Protection – Reefs fend off hurricanes!
Sustainability of Fishing Industry
Recreation & Tourism
Science & Research
CXC CAPE CARIBBEAN STUDIES 2009
Paper 2 Q1
Explain three measures that Caribbean
“ can implement to minimize the
danger posed to coral reefs the region.
• “Coral reefs are an integral part of the ecology of the
Caribbean and the identity of the region.”
• Examples of the dangers posed to coral reefs
Measures to minimize these dangers:
• Education – fisher folk, hoteliers, citizens, tourists
• Official Intervention - Creation of marine-protected areas
• Official Intervention - Laws against damage, criminalization
• Official Intervention - Authorities to protect reefs
• Adoption of a regional approach, central policy
Salomons Atoll, Chagos Archipeligo,
The Chagos Archipelago was declared the
world's largest marine reserve in April 2010
with an area of 250,000 square miles.
As of 2008, there are about 500 Marine
Protected Areas (MPAs) in the region.
Coral Reefs are the best represented.
Caribbean Studies for CAPE Examinations - Jennifer Mohammed