27 December 2008

Indonesia's reef recovering rapidly from 2004 tsunami

Helped by natural colonization and a drop in illegal fishing, Indonesia's coral reefs damaged by the 2004 tsunami are recovering rapidly, scientists from the New York-based Wildlife Conservation Society said.
Photo of reef damage from the tsunami from Environmental News Service.

They examined 60 sites on 497 miles (800 kilometers) of coastline along Indonesia's Aceh province showed the reefs were bouncing back. "Our scientific monitoring is showing rapid growth of young corals in areas where the tsunami caused damage, and also the return of new generations of corals in areas previously damaged by destructive fishing,"

Reef studies after the disaster found up to 30 percent of reefs were damaged in Indonesia, Thailand, India and Sri Lanka. The study predicted they would recover in 10 years, but much depended on efforts to control illegal fishing, pollution and coastal development.

Ove Hoegh-Guldberg, a reef expert from the University of Queensland who did not take part in the study, said the findings were not surprising since corals typically will recover if not affected by fishing and coastal development.

"Left alone, these things can quickly grow back into what looks like a coral reef in a short time," he said. "We are seeing similar things around the southern Great Barrier Reef where reefs that experience major catastrophe can bounce back quite quickly."

Full article on the wildsingapore news blog

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