90% of Chabahar coral reefs are dying: official

February 3, 2021 - 18:10

TEHRAN – Up to 90 percent of coral reefs in Chabahar waters along the Sea of Oman have been bleached and are dying, an official with the Department of Environment has said.

A rise in temperature of the water has had a negative effect on the ecosystem so that 90 percent of coral reefs in this region have been bleached and are dying, IRNA quoted Davood Mirshekar, deputy chief of the Department of Environment for marine ecosystems, as saying on Wednesday.  

Monitoring coral reefs in the Persian Gulf and the Sea of Oman is one of the prioritized plans of the Department of Environment, he noted.

He referred to irregulated scuba diving and tourism as the main factors which have harmed the coral reefs.  

Iran shares five ecological zones with specific flora from the lowest to the highest parts, one of which is the Persian Gulf-Oman Sea ecological zone.

The forests of the Persian Gulf-Oman Sea ecological region include part of the southwest and all southern coasts, covering 2,039,963 hectares. Due to ecological differences, the main vegetation is divided into two territories of the Persian Gulf and the Sea of Oman.

In the Persian Gulf area, which extends from Qasr-e Shirin to the border of Bushehr and Hormozgan provinces, the plant species of Christ's thorn jujube, Prosopis farcta, and desert poplar grow. While in the Oman Sea area, which includes a part of Hormozgan province to Sistan-Baluchestan (border of Iran and Pakistan), Mesquites and acacia species are the main vegetation covers.

Gum arabic tree, used in boat production, are scattered in this area. Mangrove forests, which consist of two species of grey mangroves and loop-root mangroves, are also spread in this area. The mangrove forest habitat is located between the tides of the seas.

Experts believe that urban and industrial effluents from desalination plants increase the salinity of the Persian Gulf, in addition to climate change, which has destroyed coral reefs as seawater gets warmer, while the habitat and breeding ground of three-quarters of marine species is among the coral reefs.

In the last 30 years, the Persian Gulf has lost its ability to rebuild due to unsustainable exploitation.