FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
San Francisco, CA – February 25, 2009 – During today's 21st business meeting of the U.S. Coral Reef Task Force  in Washington, D.C., the executive director of the Coral Reef Alliance (CORAL)  will present recommendations for coral reef conservation to the Obama Administration and the 111th Congress.
Representing a coalition of twelve leading conservation organizations—WWF, Conservation International, Project Aware, Ocean Foundation, Reef Check, the International Coral Reef Action Network, the Center for Biological Diversity, Malama Kai Foundation, Project S.E.A.-Link, Beautify CNMI, Friends of the Monument, and CORAL—Brian Huse will call for swift and decisive action to end the global coral reef crisis by:
• Reauthorizing the U.S. Coral Reef Conservation Act of 2000
• Supporting passage of the Federal Ocean Acidification Research and Monitoring Act
• Enacting meaningful reductions in carbon dioxide emissions
• Funding and leading domestic and international coral reef conservation efforts
• Supporting NOAA's priorities in reducing impacts to coral reefs
• Effectively conserving at least 30 percent of coral reef and reef-associated coastal resources in U.S. states and territories
• Providing more support for ocean education and citizen-science programs
Healthy coral reefs are the largest living structures on the planet and the second largest storehouse of biological diversity. These highly productive ecosystems are economically valuable, with reef-based tourism generating more than $1.2 billion each year in the Florida Keys alone. Coral reefs provide coastal protection, food, and income, supporting the livelihoods of approximately 100 million people around the world.
However, coral reefs in the United States and worldwide are declining at an alarming rate. Unless we take immediate action, we could lose up to 70 percent of the world's coral reefs by 2050. Human activities have damaged coral reefs to the point of being the most threatened ecosystem on Earth; they are currently teetering on the edge of destruction.
President Obama's appointment of Dr. Jane Lubchenco-a distinguished ocean scientist with a strong track record in ocean conservation-to lead the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) indicates that the new administration will establish a serious commitment to coral reef conservation.
This is a tremendous opportunity for the United States to continue its leadership role in helping to reverse the downward spiral of coral reef destruction and ensure the health and survival of these invaluable resources for future generations.
Read the full text of the recommendations at www.coral.org .
For more information, call 888-CORAL-REEF.
About the Coral Reef Alliance
CORAL is the only international organization working exclusively to save coral reefs. It builds grassroots partnerships among local communities, government leaders, marine recreation operators, and marine park managers to identify and solve conservation challenges through education, training, and effective management of marine protected areas.
Julie Bennett, Communications Manager
(415) 834-0900 x319 or jbennett (at) coral.org