Philip Munday, head of the Australian Research Council (ARC) Centre for Excellence in Coral Reef Studies (James Cook University, Townsville) states, “We have already seen episodes of mass die-off of corals as a result of warmer waters associated with global warming, the problem for specialist coral fish is that when the corals die, the fish have nowhere else to go.” [AFP: “Climate change threatens reef fish”]
Munday adds that four thousand or so fish species live around the coral reefs.
Because of the abundance of fish in the area, the fishing industry is able to provide food for about two hundred million people around the world.
However, when coral is damaged, then fish and their eggs are adversely affected. The fishing industry loses some of its products, and food prices eventually go up as supply goes down.
Munday states, "If reefs have been extensively damaged or the composition of their corals altered due to global warming impacts, this process of re-stocking the reefs with fish may be disrupted. At the same time, the baby fish are likely to be affected by changes in water temperature and the acidification of the oceans." [AFP]
He concludes, "There is really nowhere for coral reefs and their associated fish communities to expand. Effectively, this means that some coral reef fish species will be squeezed by rising water temperatures into smaller and smaller areas, making them more susceptible to disturbances such as coral bleaching and increasingly vulnerable to fishing and other forms of human activity." [AFP]
So far, scientists do not know the cause of white syndrome disease. However, they are intently studying the problem to learn more and to eventually solve the problem. Please read on.