WASHINGTON DC — Approximately 20% of the world's coral reefs are so damaged that they are beyond repair, according to the report Status of Coral Reefs of the World released on December 6. The report indicates an uncertain future for coral reefs, because the percentage of recovering reefs has increased from the last assessment, but 70% of the world's reefs are now threatened or destroyed, up from 59% four years ago. The report compiles the work of 240 experts from 96 countries in the Global Coral Reef Monitoring Network (GCRMN), major partner of Reef Check.
Founded in 1997, Reef Check is the official community-based monitoring program of GCRMN with teams in 70 of 101 coral reef countries. Reef Check's international teams contribute monitoring data to the Status report. The Reef Check monitoring protocol is the only standardized method used on a global basis that allows comparison between different regions over time. In 2003, Reef Check teams surveyed over 750 coral reefs.