Kuala Lumpur: Some 90 per cent of Malaysia`s corals are dead due to global warming and the reefs may never recover unless people switch to a greener lifestyle, a marine biologist has warned.
The lack of coral reefs, which provide a home to many marine species, would lead to fewer fishes in the ocean and thereby impact the fishing industry, University Sains Malaysia
marine biologist Prof Zulfigar Yassin said.
Noting that coral life depended on how long it has
been exposed to bleaching and its frequency, he said even with
measures to reduce carbon emission, closure of dive sites and
reduced intake of seafood, it would take years for corals to
Zulfigar said bleaching had been occurring since
April, spreading from the coast of India to Australia.
"It is definitely due to climate change; it cannot be
due to a localised cause as in the case of the BP oil spill,"
he told a local daily.
Coral bleaching is most likely to occur when the sea
temperature rises above 31 degree C for more than two days, making
corals appear white, said Zulfigar.
"Corals are essentially white. The colour comes from
the algae living in them. Any stress on the corals, such as
temperature (changes), will cause them to expel the algae."
He was of the view that marine parks should be closed
down to help corals to recover as it would reduce stress
caused by sewage from chalets, oil and grease from motorboats
used by tourists.