Coral reefs in the Caribbean have undergone massive changes over the past several decades  as they evolved from a coral-dominated to an algal-dominated state.  Evidence of decline is widespread. Surveys conducted between 1998 and 2000 under the Atlantic and Gulf Rapid Reef Assessment (AGRRA - see Appendix C: Information activities in the Caribbean) found coral diseases throughout most of the Wider Caribbean, with very few areas exhibiting no occurrences.  AGRRA surveys reported few sightings of large-bodied snappers and groupers, and Reef Check surveys recorded an absence of Nassau Groupers in over 80 percent of the sites surveyed across the region.  They were once among the commonest fishes of the Caribbean. This strongly suggests the entire region is overfished for many heavily targeted species.  Reef Check surveys have also identified sewage pollution as a problem in nearly one-quarter of sites surveyed since 1998.  Monitoring of live coral cover by the Caribbean Coastal Marine Productivity Program (CARICOMP - see Appendix C: Information activities in the Caribbean) between 1993 and 2001 found declines in live coral on nearly two-thirds of sites for which time series data were available.  However, the AGRRA program found a mean live coral cover of 26 percent on sites around 10 m depth, suggesting that despite significant loss from many large-scale disturbances, considerable coral remains. 
Chapter 3 examined threats to Caribbean coral reefs, on a region-wide, threat-by-threat basis. This chapter examines these threats, along with available information on condition and protection of reefs, in greater geographic detail for nine Caribbean sub-regions. (See Map 10: Caribbean sub-regions.) Figure 3 (Sub-regions by reefs at risk threat index and reef area) provides a summary by sub-region of reef area and the Reefs at Risk Threat Index. More detailed country profiles-including information on status of, threats to, and protection of coral reefs for 35 Caribbean countries and territories-are available online at http://reefsatrisk.wri.org.
87. Gardner et al. (2003).
88. Kramer (2003).
90. G. Hodgson and J. Liebeler, The Global Coral Reef Crisis Trends and Solutions: 5 Years of Reef Check (USA: University of California, 2002).
91. Kramer (2003).
92. Calculated at WRI using Reef Check survey data from 1998-2002 (160 observations).
93. Calculated at WRI using CARICOMP data. Of the 27 CARICOMP sites for which data were available, 22 sites had multiple years of data. Live hard coral cover for first and last available year were compared.
94. Kramer (2003).