Sea Aquarium Curacao

Tropical coral reefs are the most diverse marine ecosystems on earth as well as the most sensitive ecosystems on earth. They give shelter to thousands of animal species and cultivate an amazing amount of productivity and biodiversity.  Many countries and people are dependent on fisheries, tourism, and the coastal protection provided by healthy coral reefs.

Corals are a crucial part of marine ecosystems because they provide food and shelter for a large number of fishes and invertebrates. The coral animal builds a skeleton of calcium carbonate, a stony mineral, which provides habitat and hiding places for the reef inhabitants. Without the healthy corals the ecosystem will slowly degrade and unlike forests, a new reef does not grow back once it is gone. 

Unfortunately not all coral reefs are in the best shape, with very few areas that are still in pristine condition. This decline is due to a myriad of factors including: pollution, coastal development, overfishing, reef mining, and climate change.

Coral reefs also function as an early warning system. Their state represents the poor health of our oceans. If the coral reefs disappear, other marine life will soon follow. Over 30% of the worlds coral reefs are considered seriously damaged and 60% may die within the next 20 years.