The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has begun an inter-agency effort to protect coral reefs off the shores of Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The Caribbean Coral Reef Protection Group will coordinate efforts.
“The coral reefs of Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands are renowned for their beauty, and their ecological and economic value,” said EPA Regional Administrator Judith A. Enck. “Unfortunately, these treasures are being destroyed. By working with our fellow governmental agencies, the EPA will help make sure coral reefs continue to contribute to the region’s economy and ecology for generations to come.”
Coral reef ecosystems throughout the Caribbean are being damaged by a growing number of problems such as overfishing, sediment runoff, pollution, disease and climate change, which causes the water to become warmer and more acidic. By implementing measures to reduce those stresses that can be controlled locally, coral health can be improved and reefs can become more resilient.