Assessing Mesoamerican Coral Reef Health with Melina Soto

By January 24, 2018Coral Reef
Mesoamerican Coral Reef Report Card


Melina Soto joins me on the podcast to discuss the latest report card of the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef that stretches along the coastline of Mexico, Belize, Guatemala and Honduras.

Could Coral Reef Health along the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef Be Improving?

Coral reef health along the Mesoamerican barrier reef deteriorated rapidly from the 1990s to 2006 as tourist development grew exponentially along the coastlines of the four countries in the Region (Mexico, Belize, Guatemala and Honduras) and Climate Change consequences such as coral bleaching occurred more often. Coral reef cover deteriorated from 40% to 18% over the entire region. Hope for the delicate but important habitat was starting to wane as well.

Coral reef habitats are important to the Mesoamerican region as the people of the region are reliant on the ecosystem services such as tourism and fisheries the reefs supply. The corals attract people from all over the world to come snorkel, SCUBA Dive and fish within or around the coral reefs. The degradation of coral reefs would negatively impact the tourism industry and put many people out of work. The problem was degradation was already occurring and the people who relied on the ecosystem services in the region were in trouble.

In 2005, the region suffered through a number of high-category hurricanes, which damaged the reefs in the region. the health of the reefs were at risk, which risked the booming tourism industry in the region. The governments, non-profit organizations and private industries (stakeholders) of 69 different entities within the Mesoamerican region knew that something had to be done to change the way coral reefs were managed within the region.

The stakeholders developed a long term monitoring plan to provide managers and politicians with the information they needed to make the right management decisions. Healthy Reef was one of the non-profit organizations part of the multi-stakeholder group to help conduct the monitoring and write the report for the managers and the public within the area. Healthy Reef’s Melina Soto joins me on the podcast today to provide the Speak Up For Blue Community with the results and trends for the 10 plus year data set that includes 319 study sites.

Check out the surprising results from Melina Soto tells us during the podcast (listen to it above).

You can see the Report Card here.

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