International Year of the Coral Reef 2008

A worldwide campaign to raise awareness about the value and importance of coral reefs was launched on Wednesday, 24 January. The International Year of the Reef (IYOR) 2008, launched by the International Coral Reef Initiative, aims to build upon the awareness generated by the 1997 IYOR. 11 years on from this original event, it is clear that more needs to be done to safeguard the future of coral reefs around the globe.

The launch of IYOR 2008 coincided with the release of a report by the World Conservation Union (IUCN) showing that at least 50% of the world’s coral reefs are dangerously threatened by warming oceans and increasingly rough seas. 2005 was the warmest year on record, leading to widespread bleaching and death of corals across the Caribbean, a situation exacerbated by increasingly strong storms, including Hurricane Katrina, which battered the coasts throughout the hurricane season.