Apart from eco-tourism and coastal protection, coral reefs shelter more than four to five thousand species of edible fishes that nurse more than billion lives across the world. Now, when the policymakers are finding new ways and means to tackle the challenge of food crises accentuated by growing numbers and climate change, marine biotic resources might offer promising alternative. So, let’s understand the relationship between “Coral reefs and food security”.
“Coral reefs — cradle of marine organisms”
Coral reef ecosystems are widely known as the rainforest of the sea due to theirs ecological productivity, as well as rich species diversity including fishes, molluscs, crabs, lobsters, turtles etc. These marine species are highly valued in terms of nutritional and economical purposes in the today’s advancing world.
“Meaning and definition of coral reefs”
Coral reefs are calcareous landforms formed by the variety of lime secreting and shell forming tiny organisms called coral polyps.These polyps are marine invertebrates with calcareous skeleton as protective shield. When such animals die, residual of theirs skeletons deposited to form reef like structure.
“Role and sources of coral reefs”
Coral reef is an important oceanic topographical feature that covers hardly 0.2 percent of the area of the total global oceans. Nevertheless, these landforms nurture and nourish livelihood of more than billion people depending on fishing, ecotourism, etc.
Coral reefs are classified into three categories based on the structure and place of formation. These are, fringing, barrier and atol reefs.
In the various parts of the world oceans, these reefs protect the fragile coastland from the untimely forces of erosion. They not only naturally protect the coastland area but it also save a lot of financial resources. Further, organisms sheltered in these landforms have greatest sources of rare medicinal properties as well.
“Coral reefs potential sources of food”
Apart from basic staple food, sea food is a good sources of rare vitamins, minerals and other essential nutrients. Directly, these topographical feature offers breeding ground for thousands of edible fishes, crabs, and other marine organisms used in the popular diets. Compare to other sources of food, Sea food is both easily accessible and affordable for people having less income.
Indirectly, it acts as a cradle for numerous species that recharge several marine food chains and food webs. By studying the relationship between coral reefs and food security, we could reach on the conclusion that ocean in general and coral reefs in particular might offer great variety of food source for many millions in future.
However, ongoing growing degree of oceanic acidification and coral bleaching are threatening the very potential of these ecosystems to be a sustainable food treasure. Timely concrete measures are essential by all stakeholders to arrest the pace of degradation for common good.
After all, when the sources of quality food have been rapidly shrinking, marine or food supplied by coral reef have great value for everyone in the today’s competitive world…