RECENT DAMAGE TO OFFSHORE CORAL REEFS IN THE SOUTH CHINA SEA: QUANTIFICATION, IMPLICATIONS AND POTENTIAL SOLUTIONS
The offshore reefs of the South China Sea may be important in preventing extirpation of overharvested species throughout the region. Overlapping jurisdictional claims by bordering nations have led to actions, including military base construction, intended to support these claims. This has resulted in unprecedented rates of essentially permanent coral reef decline due to island building and reinforcement. Channel and harbor dredging has permanently altered important reef processes. Additionally, the widespread dredging of materials for the island construction activities has led to damage of decadal or longer time scales. The total area damaged, in conjunction with the growing levels of over-harvesting, may be enough to substantially impact regional fisheries production and destabilize populations of many species. Consequent hardships may lead to more pressure to strengthen claims, resulting in an intensifying spiral of ecological degradation and political tension. A potential means to halt this spiral is to institute a renewable multilateral treaty consisting of a freeze on claims, a freeze on claim-supportive activities, and a joint plan for resource management. One embodiment of such as plan would be a Greater Spratly Islands Peace Park.
McManus, J. W., University of Miami, USA, email@example.com
Location: 302 A/B
Presentation is given by student: No