February 5th, 2008 12:40 EST
Caribbean Coral Reefs ravished by high temps, storms, development
A newly released report says storms, economic development and high temperatures are devastating coral reefs in the Caribbean.
The report, co-sponsored by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), was released late Monday. It says many Caribbean reefs lost as much as 80 percent of their coral cover during the past 50 years.
Experts say the Cayman Islands, Jamaica, as it was the warmest year on record and had 26 named storms.
UNESCO says 500 million people around the world depend on coral reefs for sustenance, coastal protection, resources and tourism. It says about 30 million impoverished people rely entirely on the reefs for food.
About one-tenth of the world's reefs are in the Caribbean.
The report says greenhouse gas emissions, pollution and coastal development must be controlled in order to protect the fragile ecosystems.
The Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission also sponsored the report.