More Than 70 Percent of Japan's Largest Coral Reef Is Dead
According to a new study, almost all of the Sekiseishoko coral reef has been bleached.
It's no surprise that the world's coral reefs are in bad shape, but the Japanese environment ministry just shared another shocking statistic regarding one of the country's most popular diving destinations. According to the ministry's statement, 70.1 percent of the Sekiseishoko coral reef is dead.
Unfortunately, this section of reef is far from alone: last March, a study from Australia's National Coral Bleaching Task force shared that 93 percent of the Great Barrier Reef has undergone severe bleaching.
The survey tracking the bleaching progression in Japan monitored 35 areas in Sekiseishoko in the Okinawa Prefecture between November and December of last year. The difference between bleached and dead coral is delicate—coral becomes bleached when warm water expels the algae living within the organism, which turns the entire piece of coral white. Coral dies from a lack of nutrients, eventually turning brown and becomes home, again, to a new set of algae. The same survey shared that 91.4 percent of the Sekiseishoko coral reef has been bleached.
There is no immediate solution to this worldwide problem—the oceans' temperatures continue to rise. If you're traveling to visit these beautiful ecosystems, follow local regulations and avoid water pollution whenever possible.