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Caribbean - The Nature Conservancy Publishes First-Ever Detailed Maps of All Caribbean Coral Reefs

The Nature Conservancy (TNC), one of the world’s leading conservation organizations, along with partners, published detailed maps of important shallow underwater habitats throughout the entire Caribbean – including all shallow water coral reefs.

For the first time ever, countries and territories now have a clear picture of the habitats found beneath the waves of the Caribbean. These revolutionary maps will help guide the sustainable use and protection of marine resources for island nations in which 60% of living coral has been lost in the past few decades alone.  

These maps were created by stitching together tens of thousands of high-resolution satellite images, and in some places using aerial fly-over technology, drones, and divers to dig deeper and validate the data. By utilizing data captured from outer space to undersea, scientists were able to map and more accurately interpret the coastal ecosystems throughout the Caribbean. Having accurate and complete underwater habitat data for this region means that there is now cutting-edge guidance available to inform the sustainable use of marine resources on which 44 million Caribbean residents depend.

“You cannot protect what you don’t know is there. Having access to these maps is a game-changing achievement for the Caribbean. Thirty countries and territories finally have access to better, more detailed information about their underwater habitats to help them better protect marine areas, support sustainable livelihoods and prioritize their adaptation to potential climate change impacts,” said Dr. Robert Brumbaugh, Executive Director of The Nature Conservancy’s Caribbean Division. “Understanding and protecting natural resources is critical to the economic success of these countries.”

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