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To the average person the mention of coral reefs is associated with an aesthetic feature something pretty to look at but not entirely useful Most people do not realize that coral reefs are an important part of not only the oceans ecosystem but for ours as well Coral Reefs are estimated to contain one quarter of all the undersea species while covering less than 02 of the ocean floor Coral reefs are valuable to us on many levels One of the important areas is tourism Where coral reefs exist substantial income can be derived from tourism People from all over the world travel to reefs to snorkel dive fish and bask on the coral sands In 1990 alone reef and beach-based tourism added 89 billion to the gross development product GDP of the Caribbean region Jameson et al 1995 Tourism on the Great Barrier Reef generates 15 billion dollars each year for Queensland Australia Done et al 1996 Richmond 1993 Floridas reefs bring in approximately 16 billion dollars annually Birkeland 1997 Fisheries are another important aspect of coral reefs Most of the worlds poor are located within the coastal zones of developing regions and depend directly on reef species to meet their protein needs Fish shelter in reefs and use them as feeding spawning and nursery grounds Coral reef fisheries yield at least 6 million metric tons of fish catches around the world annually excluding local sustenance fisheries Munro 1996 Reefs provide one-quarter of the fish catch in developing countries and employment for millions of fishers Roberts et al 1998 Reef damage off the Philippines has already been blamed for fisheries losses totaling more than 80 million per year and the elimination of 127000 jobs McAllister 1988 Coral reefs also may hold a medicinal value almost half of the potential pharmaceuticals being explored are from the oceans and many of these are from coral reef ecosystems see reviews by Fenical 1996 Hay
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