Coral Reefs

The valuable coral reef ecosystems around New Providence Island are not protected. The proliferation of algae-covered rock where vibrant, living coral once thrived is a reality that many divers are all too familiar with.

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Photo Credit: The Nature Conservancy

Some 3,000-year old coral reefs are as much a part of the cultural landscape of The Bahamas as they are a foundation of our biological and ecological seascape. Even before this era of rapid climate change, coral reefs experienced a variety of stresses.

The threats to coral reefs are many and include:

  • Impacts from climate change such as warming seas and coral bleaching
  • Sea level rise
  • Ocean acidification, and
  • More frequent powerful storms

Other threats include overfishing, unmonitored damaging fishing practices, water pollution, coastal development, anchor damage and groundings from leisure boat traffic, and diver and swimmer impacts.

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In recent decades, there have been significant declines in the populations of the important reef building staghorn and elkhorn coral, Acroporacervicornis and Acroporapalmata. The causes of these declines include an array of impacts spanning habitat loss due to coastal development and destructive fishing to coral bleaching and disease.