Destroying reefs via the 'one-two' of climate change and locally unregulated fishing will hit the economies of dozens of countries.
This piece originally appeared on The Guardian.
People around the world enjoy coral reefs as places of recreation and wonder. But few appreciate that reefs are also an economic pillar for many countries.
Take, for example, the Caribbean nation of Belize. A recent analysis by several of my colleagues concluded that the country's coral reefs contribute the equivalent to 10 to 15 per cent of the nation's GDP, primarily through tourism and fisheries. Likewise, the avoided damage to buildings and infrastructure that reefs provide by serving as a "speed bump" for tropical storms equates to the same GDP percentage.