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Coastal projects could ruin Qatar’s coral reefs

Supreme Council for Environment and Natural Reserves initiates a study on coral reefs in Qatari waters to assess the impact construction work is having

Huge Amounts of construction work taking place around the coastal zones of Qatar could harm the natural coral reefs in Qatari waters, a top researcher has warned. The Supreme Council for Environment and Natural Reserves (SCENR) has initiated a study on coral reefs in Qatari waters to assess the impact of natural and man-made stress on the coral’s health and formulate a monitoring strategy.

The study, the first of its kind in the country, is part of the Qatar Marine Environment Monitoring Programme launched by SCENR last year. It was conducted with the support of Bernhard Riegl, an expert from the National Coral Reef Institute based in Florida, USA, who has visited Qatar.

The field study is now almost complete and the findings are set to be disclosed very soon. Riegl, who has been assigned to prepare a management strategy on the reefs explained that the study focused on identifying the areas where natural coral reefs are found in Qatar and also assessing their current size and condition.

Riegel added that the massive amount of construction work taking place on the costal zones of Qatar and the increasing temperature, which is part of global warming, has put tremendous stress on the natural coral reefs in Qatari waters.

“Protection of coral reefs assume great significance in Qatar considering its environmental and commercial value,” said Riegl. “Destruction of natural reefs could lead to loss of valuable marine life, especially fish, which grow and nurture around these reefs,” he added.

The study shows that many coral reefs have suffered damage due to natural and man-made causes, while some are actually regenerating themselves. It is thought that the increasing temperature has also adversely affected the marine environment, especially the coral reefs.

Details of SCNER’s research is set to be officially announced soon and the Council will then adopt a monitoring programme and strategy based on the recommendations of the study.

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