For indispensable reporting on the coronavirus crisis, the election, and more, subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter.


Corals make—and save—money in the global economy. Tourism alone generates $186.5 billion in annual revenues from resorts, snorkeling, and scuba diving (albeit not always good for the reefs), and accounts for 50 percent of the GNP in some coastal developing nations. Up to 15 percent of the total worldwide annual fisheries harvest comes from reefs; reef habitats are even more important in locales where seafood is the main source of protein (up to 90 percent for people living in the Pacific Islands). Even in the U.S., where beef, pork, and poultry are more plentiful, commercial reef fishing brings in more than $75 million annually.

Where reefs save money is in the natural ecosystem services they perform: filtering and processing waste and nutrients, making sand for eroding shorelines, and serving as a natural protector for coastlines against waves and hurricanes. A study by the National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis estimates the annual value of these services to be $174.1 billion.

What we can’t calculate, however, is the untold value of corals to medical science. Researchers have been screening reefs for potential pharmaceutical applications for the past two decades, discovering compounds with anti-inflammatory, anti-microbial, anti-carcinogenic, and cardioactive properties. As the reefs die, science loses forever the opportunity to explore these unique beings.

DEMOCRACY DOES NOT EXIST...

without free and fair elections, a vigorous free press, and engaged citizens to reclaim power from those who abuse it.

In this election year unlike any other—against a backdrop of a pandemic, an economic crisis, racial reckoning, and so much daily bluster—Mother Jones' journalism is driven by one simple question: Will America move closer to, or further from, justice and equity in the years to come?

If you're able to, please join us in this mission with a donation today. Our reporting right now is focused on voting rights and election security, corruption, disinformation, racial and gender equity, and the climate crisis. We can’t do it without the support of readers like you, and we need to give it everything we've got between now and November. Thank you.

DEMOCRACY DOES NOT EXIST...

without free and fair elections, a vigorous free press, and engaged citizens to reclaim power from those who abuse it.

In this election year unlike any other—against a backdrop of a pandemic, an economic crisis, racial reckoning, and so much daily bluster—Mother Jones' journalism is driven by one simple question: Will America move closer to, or further from, justice and equity in the years to come?

If you're able to, please join us in this mission with a donation today. Our reporting right now is focused on voting rights and election security, corruption, disinformation, racial and gender equity, and the climate crisis. We can’t do it without the support of readers like you, and we need to give it everything we've got between now and November. Thank you.

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate