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Coral bleaching troubles Fiji
Last Updated: 2016-05-16 16:08 | Xinhua
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Scientists estimate that half the coral in protected reefs around Fiji have been bleached, the government-owned Fiji Broadcasting Corporation (FBC) confirmed Monday.

Reefs can recover from these mass mortality events but what people do locally to help in this effort is important, reef expert Victor Bonito told the FBC.

"Some of the key things are really protecting our herbivore fish or plant eating fish, and particularly after these bleaching events, if we have overfished or removed these herbivores from our reefs, the algae will quickly overgrow and our coral doesn't really stand much of a chance to recover. Second, we really need to minimize our local disturbances to our coral reefs," Bonito said.

Sedimentation damages reefs, particularly during heavy rain. This also leaves pollution settling onto the coral, he said.

The mass coral bleaching of shallow reefs has been declared the worst in 16 years, according to the FBC.

With rich and diverse coral reefs, Fiji is seen by many as ideal for scuba diving as well as snorkeling. As a pillar for the Pacific island country's economy, the tourism industry rakes in millions of dollars every year from international tourists.

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