Coral reefs in Florida have generated 70,000 jobs and $5.5 billion in business for the state. But climate change could wreak the sort of havoc in Florida that sub-prime mortgages have for the U.S. A new analysis commissioned by the Environmental Defense Fund details these findings.
These reefs are already in jeopardy from pollution. Now changing ocean pH is increasing their risk.
"The groupers, snappers, jacks, angelfish, and spiny lobsters that thrive on coral reefs make Florida a destination for millions of fishermen every year – and back up Florida’s claim to be the Fishing Capital of the World. On the commercial side, catches of reef-associated species in South Florida account for $158 million in annual sales.
Terry Gibson, the fishing editor of Outdoor Life magazine and a co-author of the Environmental Defense climate change report with University of Miami Professor Hal Wanless, says that "from scuba diving in the Keys to charter fishing boats in Miami-Dade to commercial fishing in Martin County, reef-related sales amount to more than $5.5 billion each year.""