From: Marian Wilkinson, Sydney Morning Herald
Published May 13, 2009 10:25 AM

Fears of collapse as coral reefs feel the heat

THE most spectacular stretch of coral reefs on the planet is in danger of collapse from climate change, overfishing and pollution, according to a report being presented today at the World Oceans Conference in Indonesia.

Scientists consider the region known as the "coral triangle" to be the centre of marine life on Earth, teeming with fish and almost one-third of the world's coral reefs. Covering 1 per cent of the planet from South-East Asia to the Pacific, the area also supports about 100 million people.

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But in the past 40 years, 40 per cent of the coral reefs and coastal mangroves in the coral triangle have been lost because of pollution, coastal development and overfishing, said a University of Queensland professor, Ove Hoegh-Guldberg, who led the study commissioned by WWF.

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