Coral Triangle – 5 things to make you go ‘wow’!

In Ocean
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The Coral Triangle

Welcome to wonderland – 5 mind-blowing facts about the Coral Triangle.

IT SURVIVED AN ICE-AGE!

That’s because it turned into a lake! The surrounding oceans drained, as the ice caps sucked up seas, and isolated the Coral Triangle. Its species remained snug in the warm waters of their newly formed lake.  Not only did they survive the ice age, they prospered. The Coral Triangle now has over 600 species of reef-building corals – the highest number of different corals in the world. But can the Coral Triangle survive present day climate change? Sea temperatures are rising and corals have already suffered bleaching. Temperature increases of more than 2°C  could kill off the corals of the Coral Triangle for good.

 

Shallow bleaching corals split level with the island. Kavieng / New Ireland, Papua New Guinea June 2010
Coral bleaching, Papua New Guinea.

 

IT HAS 22 SPECIES OF DOLPHIN

Who knew there were that many types of dolphins? And they all hang out in the beautiful Coral Triangle – if you are a very smart species, that is exactly where you would go! But that is not all, the Coral Triangle is also home to at least 9 species of whale, six species of turtle and the world’s biggest fish, the whale shark.

Spinner dolphins ride the bow wave of a ship. Fiji
Spinner dolphins ride the bow wave of a ship.

IT HAS UNDERWATER TREES

Indonesia’s coastal waters, which sit inside the Coral Triangle have the largest area of mangrove forest in the world. Most people don’t realise but the rate of loss for mangrove forest is much greater than the loss of inland tropical forest. Mangroves are a huge ally in the fight against climate change, absorbing up to 10 times as much carbon as terrestrial forests. Not just that,  scientist are currently studying chemical compounds found in mangroves that could help fight cancer.

Mangrove reforested area. Philippines
Mangrove reforested area. Philippines

PLANT A MANGROVE

IT HAS 3000 DIFFERENT KINDS OF FISH

In an underwater explosion of colour the Coral Triangle has the greatest reef fish diversity in the world. Beautiful to behold and crucial for our food security. The Coral Triangle is one of the most important fishing grounds in the world. For example,  half the world’s supply of tuna come from this region. But we are taking too many fish and without enough care, meaning fish stocks here have the potential to collapse, leaving us without an important food supply.

Large schooling bigeye jacks or trevallies at the edge of the reef (Caranx sexfasciatus), Sipadan Island, Sabah, Malaysia. 21 June 2009
Large schooling bigeye jacks or trevallies at the edge of the reef, Sipadan Island, Sabah, Malaysia.

It is worth $billions

Plenty of people want to visit this natural beauty. Tourism is valued at over  $12 billion a year. The tuna and fishing industry is worth billions more. At least 120 million people live off the resources provided by the Coral Triangle.

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HELP THE CORAL TRIANGLE

  • Choose sustainable seafood.
  • Look out for the MSC or ASC labels on the fish you eat.

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