The future for coral reefs, both tropical and deep-sea, initially looks incredibly bleak. Reports give a general estimate that, at the moment, 10% of all the world’s coral reefs are dead, with another 60% in dire threat of destructive human activities, some of which are the major ones that have been outlined in the threat page. These estimates believe that by 2030, this percentage is expected to rise to 90%, and for all the world’s reefs to be under threat or dying by 2050 at current rates. Obviously, this would be a huge blow to the beauty and biodiversity of the world’s oceans.
MPAs (Marine protected areas) have been set up around areas of importance such as reefs to control habitat protection and fishery management, however according to certain reports, this action – when compared to similar ideas such as World Heritage Sites, Marine Park and Biosphere Reserves, have very little effect on the human effect within the reefs. The alternatives listed, examples of which include the Great Barrier and Galapagos islands, appear to have a much better effect on controlling human influence within these reef areas.
In addition, governments in areas rich in reefs and reef life are enacting acts to try and help prevent human destruction, be it indirect or otherwise, of the reefs. An example of this, the Clean Water Act, pressures governments into controlling runoff from agriculture, excess pollution and CO2 emissions (reducing the effect of ocean acidification), in hope that these actions can help avoid the bleak, potentially reef-less future that has been predicted if we keep going on the same course we are today.