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Protect and preserve the Red Sea before it becomes a dead sea by Sadiya A. Nadeem April 15,2013   |  Source: Saudi Gazette

Hidden beneath the ocean, coral reefs are the world’s most magical, beautiful and diverse ecosystem. Often referred as the “rainforests of the sea,” coral reefs occupy only less than one percent of the world’s ocean surface, yet they offer coastline protection and are the driving force behind tourism and fish industries.

Healthy coral reefs can produce up to 35 tons of fishes per sq. km each year, a marine study reported. The Saudi Arabian Red Sea in particular is known for its exotic, delicate and bio-diverse coral reefs and rich marine life.

Around 1,200 species of fish have been recorded in the Red Sea with around 10 percent not found anywhere else, according to Hurghada Environmental Protection and Conservation Association (HEPCA).

Factors contributing to Red Sea pollution

Urbanization and industrialization has not only affected living beings on land but also those that are thousands of feet under water.

Dr. Al-Sofyani Abdulmohsin A. from the marine biology department of King Abdulaziz University said coral reefs which are farther from Saudi Arabia’s coastline are healthy and in good condition.

But coral reefs near industrialized cities like Jeddah, Jazan and Yanbu are under severe environmental stress. “Uncontrolled coastal development,

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