Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Kuwait’s coral is dying as sea warms up

James Calderwood in the National: A group of Kuwaiti divers has reported bleaching in more than 90 per cent of the country’s coral reefs – a sign that the coral is either sick or dead. “This is really bad,” Dari al Huwail, a member of Kuwait Dive Team, said. “Before Ramadan, it seemed normal; there were signs of bleaching, but they were not unusual, at least to me.” After the holy month, “we went diving for a conservation project and were shocked to discover how massive the bleaching was”.

When team members dived at a reef near Umm al Maradim island, they noticed most of the brightly coloured corals had turned a sickly white. When two teams of divers inspected Kuwait’s seven other major reefs this week, they realised that the whole country was affected.

“We’re not scientific experts, we don’t have a background in marine biology, but we are professional in documenting what we see,” Mr al Huwail said. The team said it was ready to collaborate with international experts to discover why the corals have turned white and try to solve the problem.

Ali Haidar, the deputy director general of the government’s Environmental Protection Agency, said in a statement on Monday that the bleaching was probably caused by rising sea temperatures. Sea temperatures around Kuwait have soared to 35°C this year….

Satellite image of Kuwait's islands, from NASA

No comments: