TOPICS: ENVIRONMENT / NATURE

Regional / International

 

Press release Dec. 31st, 2010: Sea Shepherd Hunts Down the Japanese Whalers Before a Single Whale is Killed

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Nov 26th, 2009: Local Dutch Caribbean athlete to kayak from St. Martin to Curaçao in 3 weeks leaving on 5 december

NATURE IS LIFE

Unconditionally nature is the most important factor of life. Since 1854 Biologist Charles Darwin was teaching us that we are all part of nature's big chain in his book "On the Origin of Species". Later on the German philosopher Rudolf Steiner came up with the idea that the whole universe is just one entity, one organ that is Holistically connected. Now some say that the industrialization of the world is just a part of our own evolutionary nature. But the balance is not there. We took more from nature that we gave back. We need to be informed about this "unbalance" of nature and try to stabilize it as quick as possible. There have been many attempts to mend this gap using international agreements on reducing our Carbon Dioxide emission. The Kyoto Protocol is an international agreement linked to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. The major feature of the Kyoto Protocol is that it sets binding targets for 37 industrialized countries and the European community for reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. These amount to an average of five per cent against 1990 levels over the five-year period 2008-2012. The Kyoto Protocol had some issues, as it did not include some heavy polluting developing nations. Upcoming 15 December is the "Copenhagen Climate Change Conference" where the Kyoto Protocol will, hopefully, be adapted to serve Earth's best interest. The Caribbean is also represented in this conference by the CARICOM. They will present the 1.5-degree concept, saying: "We need 1.5 to stay Alive". If we don't take back the world temperature 1.5 degree soon, not only the World, but also the Caribbean will be menaced with floods, droughts, sea level rising and under water extinctions. Some islands, including Jamaica & Trinidad can verify that with their precious corals gone white [Coral Bleaching] due to global warming and other polluting factors. Fortunately there are many organizations that do give a helping hand. The CARMABI foundation based in Curaçao [Netherlands Antilles] helps by doing researches both on land and specializes in marine researches.

WWW.NATUREISLIFE.ORG

Ryan de Jongh, the known Curaçao athlete and patron of the CARMABI foundation took upon himself to give, thus protect our nature. In this case focusing on the underwater life. He has used his endurance and strength before to bring forward his massage in a couple of heavy challenges, including the "Clearwater Challenge’s" where he would walk, jog, cycle and/or kayak hundreds of kilometers for the preservation of nature and healthy living. Now he is ready to step up again but with a bigger challenge. For the "Clearwater Challenge III" he will be kayaking, starting on the 5th of December, from St. Maarten to Curaçao, 1606 km, in 3 weeks to raise funds for nature preservation and social projects. The Nature is Life Organization has mobilized a lot of local people to support the project but feels that we all have to be part of the solution and wants to reach the world for this good cause because after all, nature is life. "I am putting my life into this. What will you do?", Ryan comments. Meaning, he will give more than he can ever give into preserving the most valuable factor of life on earth. "By supporting me, you support yourself. It's also your life." he says. The kayaking journey consist of visiting the island of St. Maarten, St. Eustatius, St. Kitts, Montserrat, Guadaloupe, Dominica, Martinique, St. Lucia, St. Vincent, Granadines, Granada, Blanquilla, Los Roques, Islas de Aves, Bonaire & Curaçao. Go to www.natureislife.org for more info on how to support the cause and be part of the solution. Sponsors already helping are: Inser Air, Curoil, UTS [Chippie], Curaçao Ports Authority, Plaza Hotel Curaçao, Mangusa Supermarkets, EcoEnergy, Claerity Administrations, IDF Internet services, Budget Marines & Curaçao Towage Company. Without this enthusiastic contributing team the project could not be realized. But now we need to raise the funds for CARMABI and the local social projects Ryan de Jongh is leading. Please give us a hand. Financially or just by spreading the word into the world!

WWW.CARIBBEAN.TV

To facilitate the "Nature is life Organization" the newly launched www.caribbean.tv, a video and social networking site, will document the whole trip and bringing you all it's real-life happenings. The essence of Caribbean.tv is to unite the Caribbean. We, the Caribbean people, tend to forget that we are all one and that great things has come and still comes from the Caribbean. Some examples are: Reggae, Calypso, Soca & Salsa. Or great Nobel Prize winners for example St. Lucia's Sir Arthur Lewis for Economics and for literature V.S. Naipaul from Trinidad & Tobago. Whether some islands are called "Paradise on Earth" or as a whole: "The cultural melting pot", it still is just home to us all. We should treat home as our greatest treasure on earth! On www.caribbean.tv we want to put up the positive vibe of the Caribbean. The simplicity of: "Who we are". Upload your positive messages on video, in pictures or in music. Let the world see our beauty. Advertise now on www.Caribbean.tv and you will be contributing 100% for this cause! Limited spaces available.

Ryan de Jongh
1998 55km - Kayaking from playa Kalki to Sea-aquarium, Curaçao
1999 500km - Cycling nonstop for 30 hours, Curaçao
2000 116km - Cycling 55km kayaking and 65km jogging 27 hours extreme triathlon, Curaçao
2000 80km - Kayaking from Bonaire to Curaçao 13 hours, Bonaire
2001 185km - Kayaking from Curaçao to Aruba 22 hours, Curaçao
2002 150km - Jogging, walking 2 times around Aruba 23 hours, Aruba
2007 155km - Kayaking around Curacao 33 hours, Curaçao
2008 50km - Kayaking 10km cycling 40km walking triathlon, Curaçao

For donations:
“The Ryan de Jongh foundation”
Banko Di Caribe: 304 128 01 (Swift: BDCCANCU)
MCB: 221.303.06 (Swift: MCBKANCU)
RBTT: 10377514 RBTTANCU (swift BIC)

A Canadian girl who silenced the world for 5 minutes at the United Nations!

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Brussel verbiedt tonijnvisserij

Jun 2008 - De Europese Commissie verbiedt vissers de rest van het jaar om blauwvintonijn te vangen in de Middelandse Zee en het oosten van de Atlantische Oceaan. Reden is dat de vangstquota voor 2008 bijna bereikt zijn. Dat meldde een woordvoerder vrijdag.
Vissers uit Cyprus, Frankrijk, Griekenland, Italië en Malta mogen deze vis vanaf 16 juni niet meer vangen, Spanjaarden niet meer vanaf 23 juni. Het gaat om vissers die enorme netten gebruiken voor de vangst. Zij zijn goed voor 70 procent van de totale vangst van blauwvintonijn. Vissers die andere methodes gebruiken om de vis te vangen mogen hun werkzaamheden voortzetten.
De Italiaanse regering is boos. „Ik ben het niet eens met deze beslissing, het is oneerlijk en er wordt geen rekening gehouden met de economische en sociale impact die het besluit zal hebben op een sector die al in een crisis verkeert”, aldus Luca Zaia, de Italiaanse minister Landbouw. De Italiaanse vissers op blauwvintonijn hebben een vloot van 87 boten. Ze vissen alleen in de maanden mei en juni en vangen dan 550 ton per dag.
„Het sluiten van de visserij is noodzakelijk voor het voortbestaan van de tonijn en de nieuwe aanwas van de vissoort”, stelt een woordvoerder van de Europese Commissie. Brussel wil voorkomen dat er dit jaar, net als in 2007, wordt overbevist.
Het Wereldnatuurfonds (WNF) is verheugd met het besluit van de Europese Commissie. Maar de natuurorganisatie vraagt zich af waarom de vismethode ooit is toegestaan, omdat die te snel zou leiden tot overbevissing en illegale vangsten. Het WNF hoopt dat op een bijeenkomst van de Internationale Commissie voor het Behoud van de Atlantische Tonijn in november strengere eisen aan de vangmethode voor deze vis worden gesteld.
Vissers vangen veel tonijn omdat de prijs hoog is. De soort is erg gewild in Japan, waar die onder meer wordt gebruikt voor sushi.

Video: Sea Shepherd for compassion - A Must See

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Video: This is Sea Shepherd

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Video: Sea Shepherd seizes illegal longlines in the Galapagos

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Antarctic glaciers surge to ocean
UK scientists working in Antarctica have found some of the clearest evidence yet of instabilities in the ice of part of West Antarctica.

Read the article...

Caribbean Sea under threat
The Caribbean Sea has been listed as one of the areas most seriously damaged by human activity.

Read the article...

Visit the WhaleResearch.org website!

Shark species face extinction amid overfishing and appetite for fins
Call for marine reserves to protect migration hotspots as scientists fear decline  will affect other species

Alok Jha in Boston
Monday February 18 2008
The Guardian

Nine more species of shark are to be added to the endangered list as scientists warn that oceans are being emptied of the fish by overfishing and finning.

The scalloped hammerhead shark (see photo taken by Stephen Frink/Corbis), which has declined by 99% over the past 30 years in some parts of the world, is particularly vulnerable and will be declared globally endangered on the World Conservation Union (IUCN) list.

"Sharks are definitely at the top of the list for marine fishes that could go extinct in our lifetimes," said Julia Baum of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography in California and a member of IUCN shark specialist group. "If we carry on the way that we are, we're looking at a really high risk of extinction for some of these shark species within the next few decades."

At the American Association for the Advancement of Science annual meeting in Boston yesterday, Baum said that in addition to the scalloped hammerhead, other shark species that will be added to the revised IUCN endangered list later this year are the smooth hammerhead, shortfin mako, common thresher, big-eye thresher, silky, tiger, bull and dusky. There are already 126 species of shark on the IUCN's list.

"The perception has been that really wide-ranging species can't become endangered because if they are threatened in one area, surely they'll be fine in another area," said Baum. "But fisheries now cover all corners of the earth and they're intense enough that these species are being threatened everywhere."

Recent studies have shown that all shark populations in the north-west Atlantic Ocean have declined by an average of 50% since the early 1970s.

Shark numbers can become depleted very quickly because they take a long time to mature - 16 years in the case of a scalloped hammerhead. Their fins are highly prized in China and can fetch up to £140 a kilogram. Until recently the eating of shark fin was a delicacy restricted to the rich in China, said Baum, but as the country's middle class has grown in the past 25 years, so has the market for shark fins.

Excessive fishing has caused a 90% decline in shark populations across the world's oceans and up to 99% along the US east coast, which are some of the best-managed waters in the world, according to Baum.

The decline in predators such as sharks can have devastating consequences for the local marine ecology.

In a case study published last year, Baum found that a major decline in the numbers of predatory sharks in the north Atlantic after 2000 had allowed populations of the sharks' prey, cownose rays, to explode. The rays in turn decimated the bay scallop populations around North Carolina. "There was a fishery for bay scallops in North Carolina that lasted over a century uninterrupted and it was closed down in 2004 because of cownose rays."

Fishing for sharks in international waters is unrestricted, but Baum supports a recent UN resolution calling for immediate limits on catching sharks and a ban on shark finning.

Sonja Fordham, of the Shark Alliance, a coalition of 50 scientific and conservation groups, said: "People think these wide-ranging, fast sharks are resilient to fishing; however, this shows this is not the case. Concerned citizens can really help by making their fisheries ministers aware that they support conservation measures such as catch limits."

Some conservation efforts for sharks will focus on newly identified hotspots where sharks congregate during migrations. Peter Klimley of the University of California, Davis, found that scalloped hammerhead sharks migrate along fixed "superhighways" in the oceans, speeding between a series of "stepping stone" sites near coastal islands ranging from Mexico to Ecuador.

"Hammerhead sharks are not evenly dispersed throughout the seas, but concentrated at seamounts and offshore islands," he said. "Hence, enforcing reserves around these areas will go far in protecting these species and will provide the public with places for viewing sharks in their habitat."

One site between Hawaii and Mexico attracts so many sharks it has become known among scientists as "the white shark cafe", Klimley says.

"We started calling it the cafe because that is where you might go to have a snack or maybe just to 'see and be seen'. We are not sure which," said Salvador Jorgensen, a researcher at Stanford University's Hopkins Marine Station.

"Once they leave the cafe they return year after year to the same exact spot along the coast, just as you might return to a favourite fishing hole."

Copyright Guardian Newspapers Limited 2008

February 8th, 2008: Australia condemns bloody killing of whale and calf by Japanese fleet

Photo credit: AP Photo / Australian Customs

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Times Online
CNN
Daily Telegraph

EuroNews - Futuris XV - En - Fish for the future »

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Angry Kid »

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Greenpeace - Bomb the World! »

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Visit GlobalIncidentMap.com
There is a lot happening in our world every minute. This "map" updates every 300 seconds...constantly 24/7.

Greenpeace - New Radicals - You get what you give »

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Arctic Race »

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Awareness video for the people of St. Maarten as to the state of their environment and their children's future. - By Fuzz Buzz »

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Sint Maarten, Netherlands Antilles is currently facing a very serious Environmental crisis.

Inadequate, incomprehensive zoning legislation combined with the mounting drive for new (tourism) accommodations, urbanisation, and transportation infrastructure has led to increased pressure to excavate Hills and reclaim land from ponds, lagoons and other ecologically significant areas. Conservation NGO’s believe that if left unmanaged the aforementioned will continue, resulting in complete loss of Sint Maarten’s biodiversity and natural appeal. NGO’s point out that the continuing destruction of Sint Maarten’s ecosystems will also have negative consequences on the island’s economy as Sint Maarten’s natural characteristics embody the basis for its economic pillar: Tourism. 

Sint Maarten Pride Foundation has compiled a video which chronicles the most serious local Environmental Crime of the decade; The destruction of the Dawn Beach Pond and its surrounding ecosystems. The video can be viewed by clicking here.

Should you have any questions, comments or have problems viewing the video contact sxmpride@yahoo.com or bernveen@yahoo.com

LAGOON (letter to the editor)

Dear editor.

I was shocked and stunned to read the article in the Herald regarding the Lagoon, however I can't say I was surprised!
Some fourteen years ago I found St,Martin on my port bow it was just on sun up, and my two dogs had caught the sent of land and now stood front feet on the rail,ears flapping in the wind, eager to find a palm tree after five day's at sea.
The plan was we would stay for one or two weeks. I would sell my cargo, then purchase some tax free washing machines clean the hold and head on back down the Island chain, drinking the profit on the way.
Had I known that St.Martin would have such an influence on my boat and my life, I might have turned the good ship "Ourconfidence" around and made the dogs wait another five day's.
I was now in my second year of blue water cruising in the Caribbean. Coming from the med in those day's I was still in a trance at the clean blue waters and aquatic life it supported. Bloody fish every where"you almost felt a since of guilt when you took a pee over the rail. In the Mediterranean, you felt taking a piss over the rail might clean it up a bit!
As we parted European waters, the head lines were much as today! wondering fish stocks and pollution taking pride of place on every news paper. Let me give you an idea. One morning whilst on the hook, off  the coast of Gibraltar, I got up went on to the deck to make sure we were still on station. As I looked all around I could see we had come some distance from where we lay the previous night.Leaning over the bow I held the chain in my hand to feel for any drag, sure enough we were dragging. The water a sort of dirty gray, just below the service was a large net filled with about a quarter ton  of rotting fish. This was spill catch that the fishermen did not want and so after a profitable catch, with the crew wanting to get home it was not uncommon for them to cut part of the net and just let it go. This experience plus the ever growing pollution problem in the med was my motivation for crossing the Atlantic.
After a few week of sitting in Simpson bay the swell was starting to take its tole with the boat rolling like a pig, life on board was not much fun. Not wishing to cause a revolt I we went for the early bridge, Inside the lagoon was quite some thing. an abundance of fish clear water and lots of bottom life.We used to swim every morning in the Lagoon. local fishermen still fished in there mainly for bait but the did catch fish!!!! The bridge on the French side was closed and had a dam going right across so no water flow. Even though the water on the Dutch side was clear, as you got to the French side the smell would hit you hard. After the French bridge was open with the then, "New Bridge" standing above, the water flowed once again through both sides of the lagoon.
The difference was quick to see! The water no longer stank, fish were spurning over by Chicken Island and it was a great place to be.
For many years after St. Martin and the Lagoon became base camp for Me and the "Confidence". In that time I witnessed the lagoon go through a lot!!! Hurricane after hurricane smashed and spoiled both the Lagoon and the Island and its people.
The people of the Island much to my surprise fought back and the Island has grown into some thing quite different from the little Island that I first made land fall on all those years ago.
Just last month I made St. Martin our Land fall again on board the "Synergy" Once ashore I reflected on the old St.Martin and the new.You can't help but respect the people of this Little place even with all its problems. My heart was heavy though, as I took of from the new airport, a quick look out of the window as I flew over the lagoon showed me pee green water, with little or no bottom life to be seen.
I see the Lagoon as a barometer of the Islands well being for more than one reason. After every rain fall you can see how the dirty water sits in the Lagoon. you can nearly see how many tourists are on the island by the ever increasing amount of fresh water by products that flow in to the lagoon during the busy season. My words are simple. "When the tourists have gone home,when the people of the Antilles have to explain to their grand children why we no longer have fish to eat. why you cant swim any more. When the land fill has poisoned all the waters around the Island. it will be too late!! Take care of that little Island It is after all, all you have to leave your children.

Sean

Airport radar not a health hazard
July 25., 2007

Transport Minister Maurice Adriaens has reacted with surprise to reports in the media that there is a potentially hazardous situation for the health of the workers at the Air Traffic Control (ATC) tower in St. Maarten.
"If you stand next to radar maybe it can be hazardous, but the fact that the radar is placed on a different floor from where the air traffic controllers are working gives enough separation," he said in response to concerns raised by United Federation of the Windward Antilles (UFA) advisor Willy Haize on Radio Soualiga yesterday afternoon.
Haize was concerned that radiation from the Air Traffic Control radar might be hazardous for workers in the tower.
Adriaens said radar gave out radio-magnetic waves. "The discussion is whether these waves are hazardous. There is no scientific proof that they are," he said.
Adriaens added that the same argument went for the use of cellular phones. "It is said that holding a cellular phone next to your head for a long time is hazardous. They also emit radioactive waves, but it's not the same as standing next to an antenna. The waves there are much more concentrated."

Preserving the world's coral reefs a priority
Tourism industry joins forces with conservation groups to save ocean's fragile ecosystem

By Bonnie Tsui
NEW YORK TIMES
Article Launched: 06/24/2007 03:07:50 AM PDT

Green sea turtles, cascades of glittering reef fish, blooming coral pillars -- countless travelers have come nose to nose with a thriving undersea universe while on vacation.

But increasingly, divers and snorkelers are swimming over bleached hunks of coral devastated by shore runoff or overfishing. From the South Pacific to the Caribbean, coral reefs -- which are among the most delicate of marine ecosystems -- are bearing the brunt of climate change and other human-driven activities -- including coastal development, deforestation, and unrestricted tourism. Now, many in the tourist industry are trying to halt the damage.

And it is no wonder. The dollars involved in reef-based tourism are significant: Australia's Great Barrier Reef alone draws about 1.9 million visitors a year, supporting a $4.2 billion industry. According to the Nature Conservancy, the annual economic value of coral reefs to world tourism is $9.6 billion.

Partnering to preserve

Growing awareness of environmental issues means that the tourism industry has become a partner to conservation efforts in major reef areas. Though the Great Barrier is the most famous reef, it is not the most threatened; its extensive marine management program is widely regarded as a model for conservation. It includes eco-certification programs for tourism operators within the boundaries of the marine park, environmental tourist fees, large no-take zones, species monitoring and tourism industry contributions to the Great Barrier Reef's main research center.

Fragile reefs

But the world's second-largest barrier reef, the Mesoamerican Reef in the Caribbean, is seriously endangered by coastal development, runoff and pollution. The reef system stretches nearly 700 miles from the Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico to the Bay Islands of Honduras.

And reefs in Southeast Asia's Coral Triangle -- which reaches from Malaysia to the Philippines, Indonesia, and the Solomon Islands, encompassing some of the planet's most diverse marine habitats -- have been severely damaged by overfishing and destructive practices, including the use of cyanide and dynamite to capture fish.

In 2004, the nonprofit group Conservation International began a program called the Mesoamerican Reef Tourism Initiative, which aims to address the threat that mass tourism poses to the Mesoamerican Reef by engaging hoteliers, developers, cruise lines and local governments in Mexico, Belize and Honduras. There is special emphasis on the Riviera Maya of Mexico, where, less than nine miles offshore, the island of Cozumel is the world's second most-visited cruise destination after Miami, according to the International Council of Cruise Lines.

Last year, as part of the Mesoamerican Reef initiative's efforts, the cruise line council began an effort to avoid waste water discharge by cruise ships in environmentally sensitive areas.

"This program will ensure that cruise line waste water is discharged at least four miles from any of the sensitive marine ecosystems within the Mesoamerican Reef system, thereby minimizing the chance such discharges will have negative impact on the long-term health of the reef," said Jamie Sweeting, who oversees Conservation International's work with the travel industry.

Cruise impact

The cruise industry is a particular area of concern, since ships regularly disgorge crowds of passengers into fragile coastal areas that strain to absorb the impact. Conservation International estimates that cruise passengers typically make about 2,000 scuba dives in and around Cozumel's surrounding reefs in a single day.

"We're working with the municipal government, the local dive and water sports association, and the cruise lines themselves, because they all have a vested interest to look after this coral reef," Sweeting said.

Cozumel concerns

Areas being addressed include the creation of a dedicated snorkeling zone in Cozumel to limit visitor impact to one section of the reef, and ensuring that park management fees are collected and put toward protection and management of marine areas. The Mesoamerican Reef Tourism Initiative has also begun a program to evaluate and implement good business practices for conserving water and energy, reducing solid waste, and managing chemicals at coastal hotels along the Riviera Maya and in southern Belize.

Crucial partnerships between conservation groups and the tourism industry have also taken root in the Coral Triangle. In developing nations such as Indonesia, where human and financial resources are slim, the cooperation of private tourism businesses has been instrumental in accomplishing reef conservation goals.

For example, Bunaken National Park, in north Sulawesi, today is managed in large part by a local association of dive operators who saw the declining quality of coral (and their livelihood) in the mid-1990s.

Komodo dragon

The Nature Conservancy's Coral Triangle Center works at several sites in Indonesia, including the Raja Ampat Islands in Papua and Komodo National Park, a major protected marine area in the Lesser Sunda Islands. Komodo now is run by a nonprofit joint venture between the Nature Conservancy and a local tourism company. The joint venture, PT Putri Naga Komodo, was established in 2005.

Founded in 1980, the park is a World Heritage site and protects the habitat of the Komodo dragon, as well as important whale migration routes between the Indian and Pacific oceans. The reefs are rich in coral species and home to up to 1,000 species of fish.

"After a decade supporting conservation in Komodo National Park, the Nature Conservancy recognized the need for self-sufficiency," said Marcus Matthews-Sawyer, director of tourism communications for the joint venture.

Tourism has helped raise awareness of the destination and of the reefs' biological importance. Blast fishing -- using explosives to stun or kill fish -- now is prohibited within the park. The ban is credited with a 60 percent increase in hard coral coverage between 1996 and 2002, according to the Coral Triangle Center. The collection of conservation fees from tourists, about $15 a stay, is vital to sustaining park management. The partnership plans to have Komodo self-financed by park fees by 2012.

Though Komodo is one of Indonesia's greatest tourism assets -- it is one of the most frequently visited nature reserves in the country -- conservation work there also is necessary to protect young fish that are a source for surrounding fishing grounds.

Enforcement of the park zoning system, which restricts access to certain parts of the reefs, continues to be a challenge because of limited resources. But a major goal of the tourism partnership is supporting sustainable community use of the reef area, which includes providing alternative livelihoods to destructive fishing.

Global warming impact

All three reef systems -- the Great Barrier Reef, the Mesoamerican Reef and the Coral Triangle -- are jeopardized by the threat of global warming, which kills coral and leads to a bleaching effect. And while tourism cannot solve the problem of rising sea temperatures, the industry's cooperation to eliminate specific pressures -- by establishing a well-enforced no-take zone, or reducing wastewater pollution, for example -- helps reefs recover from bleaching and disease. The contribution of conservation fees to support the protected areas, which many businesses have long resisted, is also important.

To keep coral reefs from disappearing as quickly as they have in recent years, people need to be involved and educated on every level from local government to hotel developers to cruise lines, said Sweeting of Conservation International.

"It took Cancun 35 years to develop to this massive size, and it took less than a decade for the Riviera Maya," he said. "But nature will not let you get away with it."

 

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