Marine & Environmental Sciences Faculty Proceedings, Presentations, Speeches, Lectures


Developers, Divers, Dynamite: Man-Made Changes and an Uncertain Future for Red Sea Coral Reefs

Event Name/Location

Annual Meeting of the Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology

Document Type

Conference Proceeding

Publication Date



Northern Red Sea coral reefs, many virtually untouched since biblical times, face unprecedented pressure due to ambitious development plans. Tourism developments are intended to cover, together with associated new towns and industrial areas, the entire Egyptian and Jordanian coastlines. Only some protected coastal areas will remain untouched. 20 years of unregulated development in Hurghada (Egypt) have led to coastal alterations due to landfilling on reefs, in some areas as much as 500m. New towns and residential areas developed, destructive fishery techniques were introduced. Large scale coastal infilling and blasting of reefs led to an increase of turbidity and sedimentation in coastal waters. Insufficient sewage control threatens to lead to eutrophication. Unregulated diving and boating activities led to significant damage on many reefs. Dynamite fishing stripped wide areas of all life and overfishing reduced fish stocks. Repeated ship groundings (6 in 1996) reduced many reefs to rubble. Presently, the environmental changes caused by human activities are still localized and conservation agencies strive to avoid further damage. The survival of northern Red Sea reefs will depend not on the reefs ability to adapt, but on the individual country's political will to control and regulate future development.


Found in American Zoologist 37(5): 12A



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