Coral reefs recover from 2004 tsunami

by Owen James

Scientists from New York’s Wildlife Conservation Society have found evidence that coral reefs damaged in the 2004 tsunami are recovering more quickly than expected:

“Our scientific monitoring is showing rapid growth of young corals in areas where the tsunami caused damage, and also the return of new generations of corals in areas previously damaged by destructive fishing,” said Dr. Stuart Campbell, coordinator of the Wildlife Conservation Society’s Indonesia Marine Program.

“These findings provide new insights into coral recovery processes that can help us manage coral reefs in the face of climate change. On the 4th anniversary of the tsunami, this is a great story of ecosystem resilience and recovery.”

The 2004 tsunami was triggered by a huge earthquake off the coast of Sumatra. More than 230,000 people along the Indian Ocean coastline were killed by the disaster.

Studies afterwards found up to 30 per cent of reefs were damaged across Indonesia, Thailand, India and Sri Lanka.

Scientists now believe the reefs could recover in 10 years, given proper efforts to control illegal fishing, pollution and coastal development.

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