Destructive Fishing Practices Cause More Damage to Coral Reefs Than the December 2004 Tsunami Did

A new study published in the journal Atoll Research Bulletin reveals that the December 2004 tsunami's impact on coral reefs was slight compared to the devastation previously caused by dynamite and cyanide fishing practices. An international scientific team including ecologists from the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), Syiah Kuala University, and Australia’s James Cook University carried out research in March 2005, less than 100 days after the tsunami. They visited 49 reefs in northern Aceh, Indonesia—located within 300 kilometers of the epicenter. The scientists found that reef condition was closely related to reef management. Dr. Stuart Campbell of the Wildlife Conservation Society’s Indonesian marine program said that coral cover was on average 2-3 times higher on reefs managed under the traditional Acehnese fishing system, compared to open-access areas.