People, Environment

Saving Coral Reefs of Kharg, Kharko Islands

Saving Coral Reefs of Kharg, Kharko IslandsSaving Coral Reefs of Kharg, Kharko Islands

In a bid to protect the marine ecosystems of Kharg and Kharko islands, a plan to collect fishing nets and fish traps around coral reefs has been initiated by the Department of Environment.

In cooperation with the Border Guard Command, DOE’s offices in Bushehr and Kharg will remove all nets and traps laid across coral reef habitats within a kilometer from the two Persian Gulf islands, IRNA reported.  

“Fishing practices inflict numerous environmental damage to the islands’ ecosystems, including the destruction of coral reefs,” said Hossein Delshab, public relations officer at Bushehr’s DOE office.  

“Fishermen set up their equipment in areas where coral reefs grow and cause severe damage to these unique creatures while pulling the traps up.”  

Another threat to corals is posed by unauthorized and excessive catching of parrotfish. These fish feed on sea urchins whose main source of food is coral, but overfishing will eventually upset the natural balance of the ecosystem.

“As the population of parrotfish declines, the number of sea urchins grows, putting the life of corals at risk,” said Delshab.  

Coral reefs are among the most distinctive marine environments and ideal habitats for a great number of sea animals that sometimes take up to 500 years to be restored.

They also act as natural breakwaters preventing soil erosion and strong water waves in coastal areas. Their extinction can have a serious impact both on the environment and human life in coastal areas.  

Turtles, including the rare hawksbill sea turtle, fall victim to fishing tools as they get trapped in nets and lose their lives when arriving in Kharko during spring and summer to lay eggs.