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What is Happening to the Coral Reefs of Costa Rica’s Tempisque?

Costa Rica Conservation – The area known as Tempisque, which is between Guanacaste and Puntarenas, used to be full of live, vibrant coral reef. Over the last 20 years the area lost 98% of its beautiful coral cover.

Clouds of reef fish and corals, French frigate shoals, NWHILiving coral and calcareous algae is one of the best indicators of a healthy ecosystem. Coral reefs favor fish reproduction which is greatly needed in these areas of commercial fishing interest.

The reefs also bring in tourists and act as barriers during storms.

They have many functions and should have been protected. Other so called conservation areas are affected as well, such as Osa, with 16% live coral, Cocos, with 18%, and Culebra Bay, which went from 50% to 3% live coral in just 14 years.

What is causing the deterioration of reefs? The live coral are dying off because of poor conditions in the water. There is overfishing and lack of watershed management. The high amount of algae and seaweed is another problem. They cling to the reef and their feeding activity erodes it, flattening and weakening it.

Researchers recommend reforesting the vegetation on the banks in addition to a water treatment program.

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