Coral-list: 2015 Mesoamerican Reef Report Card available

Melanie McField mcfield@healthyreefs.org via coral.aoml.noaa.gov

The Healthy Reefs for Healthy People Initiative (HRI) recently released its
2015 Report Card for the Mesoamerican Reef, recording an improvement in
reef health for this important reef system encompassing 248 study sites
across the 100 km of coast in Mexico, Belize, Guatemala and Honduras. You
can download the report from and view a 5 min video version right from our
homepage: *www.healthyreefs.org *

The simultaneous launch events in the 4 MAR countries garnered over 70
media stories and celebrated important conservation wins, such as the full
protection of parrotfish in Guatemala (jointing Belize and the Bay Islands
of Honduras in their previous full protection of these key herbivores). In
the next couple of weeks we will launch the full database behind this
report, also from our website. Thanks to the 65 partner organizations that
comprise this collaborative effort!

Major findings include:

– The overall 2015 MAR Reef Health Index score was ‘fair’ (2.8), on a
scale of ‘critical’ (1) to ‘very good’ (5), with encouraging improvements
over the last report.

– Corals – the architects of the reef – have improved since 2006,
increasing from 10%-16% cover; although fleshy macroalgae, the main
competitors with corals for open reef space, have also increased.

– Commercial fish have increased in biomass – an important success –
although large groupers are quite rare (only 4% of the 700 groupers counted
were >40cm long) and are mainly found in fully protected zones of marine
protected areas (MPAs).

– Fully protected areas had 10 times more snapper and grouper biomass
than those within general use areas of designated MPAs or reefs with no
protection. Collaborative efforts to rebuild fish populations through
replenishment (=fully protected) areas are working.

Melanie McField, PhD
Director, Healthy Reefs for Healthy People Initiative, Smithsonian Institution
1648 NE 47th St, Ft Lauderdale FL 33334
Cell: 754 610 9311 Tel: 954 990 8842
email: mcfield@healthyreefs.org
www.healthyreefs.org

Join the International Society for Reef Studies
www.fit.edu/isrs/
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