One of the world’s smallest nations (approximately 440 sq km), Antigua and Barbuda includes a number of small islands and cays, characterized by low-lying coral and limestone formations.  Large bank reefs, patch reefs, and fringing reefs cover about 180 sq km. Antigua has a deeply indented coastline surrounded by reefs except on parts of the west and south coasts. On Barbuda, reefs are found along most of the coast, and an extensive algal ridge runs along the east coast. 
According to the Reefs at Risk analysis, all of Antigua and Barbuda’s reefs are threatened by human activities. The most pervasive threat is overfishing, threatening all reefs. Coastal development threatens over 70 percent, while marine based pollution and sedimentation each threaten about 30 percent of the reefs. Turbidity of inshore water and elevated algal cover are linked to impacts of coastal development, with sedimentation being a major influence on reef condition.  Recreational diving and marine resource extraction are also having an adverse impact on reefs.
Hurricanes Hugo (1989) and Luis and Marilyn (1995) caused extensive damage to reefs on the south and southeast coasts of Antigua, particularly to branching corals on shallow reefs.  Other natural disturbance has also come from the last El Ni