More than 2,600 scientists have signed a landmark scientific consensus on the rapid and ongoing decline in the health of the world’s coral reefs.


The document, signed at the 12 International Coral Reef Symposium, states that it is imperative to make ‘every effort to save what’s left’. 


The Consensus Statement on Climate Change and Coral Reefs calls for a concerted worldwide effort to counter the growing threats to coral ecosystems and to the livelihoods of the millions of people that depend on them. It calls for urgent measures to head off the effects of ocean acidification, overfishing, rising temperatures and pollution from the land.


Professor Terry Hughes, Convener of the Symposium and Director of the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies said, “There is a window of opportunity for the world to act on climate change – but it is closing rapidly.”


Jeremy Jackson, Senior Scientist Emiruts from the Smithsonian Institution, warned that climate change is compounding an already dire problem and that its effects will prove increasingly dire for those societies that are dependent on the reefs.


“That means what’s good for reefs is also critically important for people and we should wake up to that fact,” Jackson said. “The future of coral reefs isn’t a marine version of tree-hugging but a central problem for humanity.”