Half of U.S. coral reefs said at risk

WASHINGTON, July 8 (UPI) -- Scientists said nearly half of all coral reef ecosystems under U.S. jurisdiction are in poor or fair condition.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said coral reefs are under threat from coastal development, fishing, sedimentation and recreational use.


"Even the most remote reefs are subject to threats such as marine debris, illegal fishing and climate-related effects of coral bleaching, disease and ocean acidification," NOAA said Monday in a release.

A 569-page document detailing coral reef conditions was released by the NOAA at the 11th International Coral Reef Symposium in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

Tim Keeney -- deputy assistant secretary of commerce for oceans and atmosphere and co-chair of the United States Coral Reef Task Force -- said coral reefs are healthier in the Pacific Ocean than the Atlantic Ocean.

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