Study: Carib reefs need parrotfish, sea urchins

AP News
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Posted: Jul 02, 2014 8:41 AM

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) — A new study says parrotfish and sea urchins are the key to saving the Caribbean's coral reefs, and warns the reefs may disappear in two decades if nothing is done.

The report released Wednesday analyzed the work of 90 experts over three years.

It says Caribbean reefs have declined by more than 50 percent since the 1970s and blames a drop in the numbers of parrotfish and sea urchins for much of the decline. Lead author Jeremy Jackson says the decrease in the numbers of those creatures led to an increase in seaweed that is smothering reefs.

Jackson is a senior adviser with the Swiss-based International Union for Conservation of Nature. The group issued the report along with the U.N. Environment Program and the Global Coral Reef Monitoring Network.