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World’s first coral reef atlas published

India: The coral reefs of the Central Indian Ocean have now been quantified and mapped in the world’s first coral reef atlas, prepared by the Space Applications Centre (SAC), Ahmadabad, India. The atlas, called the ‘Coral Reef Atlas of the World’, also gives a report on the health of different reefs through maps indicating their extent, distribution and habitat.

A detailed assessment of the health of the coral reefs in the Central Indian Ocean is given in the atlas along with an assessment of the health of the other coral reefs of the world. It has been discovered that Gujarat’s coral reef cover has eroded by 23.2% over the past two decades. One of the main factors cited for this degradation is anthropogenic influence, impact of human activity.

It is interesting that while the reef at Andaman & Nicobar Islands has almost recovered from the damage caused by the deadly tsunami of 2004, the coral reefs in the Gulf of Kutch (GoK) are in a ‘degrading condition’. Incidentally, the GoK has the highest concentration of corals along mainland India.

Source: DNA India