Middle East unites to save Red Sea coral reef

In a profoundly united effort and despite their differences, researchers and scientists from universities in Israel and across the Arab world are joining forces to help protect and preserve the Red Sea’s vulnerable coral reef from human activity.


Led and organised by Switzerland’s Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL), countries including Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Jordan, Eritrea, Sudan, Yemen, Djibouti and Israel will partner at the Red Sea Transnational Research Centre to study, monitor and protect the Red Sea coral reef ecosystems.

In a twist however, while some coral reefs around the world are experiencing bleaching effects of global warming and pollution (such as those in Hawaii and around South East Asia), the Red Sea coral reefs have been found to be resistant to these stressors.

“The relatively narrow sea is surrounded by countries and people who are directly dependent on the well-being of the coral reefs,” said Professor Maoz Fine, a marine biologist from the Mina and Everard Goodman Faculty of Life Sciences at Bar-Ilan University, which led to the collaboration between the multiple countries.

These scientists have come together having realised how crucial it is to protect the Red Sea’s coral reefs as they form some of the world’s most important ecosystems, and recognise that their expert cooperation can best overcome those threats through knowledge-sharing and regional coordination, despite the complex political situation, The Tower reported.

“The proximity of urban areas and tourism to the reef may inflict damage to it if we aren’t wise enough to coordinate our actions when using this asset,” Professor Fine said, according to the report from The Tower.

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