SOME FACTS ABOUT CORAL REEFS
Coral Reefs are the Rainforests of the Ocean:
Coral reefs occupy only 0.7% of the ocean floor, but provide a habitat and vital nursery grounds for 25% of all marine species on the planet. Corals are composed of thousands of tiny animals called polyps, and are responsible for building the largest biological structure on earth – the Great Barrier Reef.
No Coral Reef, No Fishery:
Coral reefs support 4,000 species of fish including many commercial fishes such as ‘capitaine’, ‘vieille rouge’, and ‘ourites’ in Mauritius, 700 species of coral, and thousands of other plants and animals.
Shoreline Protection and Erosion Control:
Coral reefs protect shorelines from erosion and storm and wave damage. For example, it is estimated that each square meter of reef protects US$ 47,000 in property value in the US.
Our coral reefs attract thousands of visitors each year. Tourism is one of the largest industries in the world and sustains 10% of all jobs on earth. In 1992, tourism associated with coral reefs generated world-wide US$ 1.9 trillion, over 27 times that generated by the world’s fisheries. In Mauritius as well, many people’s livelihood depends on tourism, and the hotel industry and related tourist activities have become one of the main pillars of our national economy.
Corals provide an incredible diversity of beneficial medical pharmaceuticals, and contain pharmaceutical compounds found to help fight heart disease, asthma, viruses, cancer and HIV/AIDS.