Monday, June 21, 2010

Coral reefs in Miri under threat

MIRI: The corals within the Miri-Sibuti Coral Reef Marine Park easily rank as one of the ‘best and healthiest’ in the country, but threats from climate change and human activities are a growing concern.

A member of the Malaysia Nature Society (Miri), Kumareson Paranthaman, said one of the major threats was sedimentation.

“If deforestation accelerates in watersheds feeding the shore water, additional silt run-offs could begin to kill the reefs nearest to the shore,” he cautioned.

Kumareson explained that coral reefs closest to the shore grow in shallow waters, around seven metres, while the deepest one thrive far out in the shelf, in nearly 30 metres of crystal clear water.

He pointed out that there were already indications that coral reefs in Miri were under siege when there was an outbreak of coral bleaching in 2009.

“Bleaching is a sign of coral stress and represents a threat to the health of the reefs and their associated eco-system. Bleaching can be local or regional and there are several known causes,” he said.

Among the causes are climate change, sedimentation, and chemical pollution, while indiscriminate fishing and large fishing nets snagged on the reefs are equally damaging. This leads to the reefs becoming unattractive algal reefs.

Continue reading (Incl. Pic) at: Coral reefs in Miri under threat

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