International Year of the Reef (IYOR) 2018
What is IYOR?
IYOR is a global effort initiated by the International Coral Reef Initiative (ICRI) to raise awareness and understanding of the value of and the threats to coral reefs, so as to increase the effectiveness of conservation, research and management efforts worldwide. In recent decades more frequent, severe and widespread coral bleaching have devastated much of the world’s coral reefs. However, these are underwater ecosystems “out of sight” and as such often overlooked and undervalued.
But, for IYOR2018, countries all over the world are bringing together state, private and NGO conservation groups to organize activities and events that raise awareness of the value of coral reefs and their threats.
2018 is the 3rd International Year of the Reef (IYOR2018), the previous two were celebrated in 1997 and 2008. Global warming is now considered to be the greatest threat to coral reefs and by extensions the hundreds of millions of people that rely on them around the world.
What is IYOR TT
In Trinidad and Tobago, IYOR celebrations are being arranged and coordinated as a partnership of various state and conservation groups with a core team led by SpeSeas, Wild Tobago, UWI, IMA and TTFNC.
What does IYORTT have lined up for IYOR?
Planned are a series of activities that showcase the biodiversity and value of coral reefs, as well as the threats they face. Anyone can participate in these activities, including those that would want to remain dry and persons with special needs. The activities include coastal cleanups, underwater clean-ups, coral reef art and photo competitions, intertidal visits to nearshore reefs, Marine BioBlitz, screenings with talk back opportunities with local experts and much more.
|World Environment Day
5th June 2018
UWI, Engineering Block 1, Room 101
Open to the public
|The Latin American and Caribbean Congress for Conservation Biology (LACCCB)
25th July 2018
UWI, St. Augustine
11:00 am – 1:00 pm
This is a closed screening for attendees of the LACCCB Conference.
|Premiere Screening in Tobago
Date, time and venue TBD
This screening is being organized by our IYORTT partner, the Buccoo Reef Trust.
|ERIC Charlotteville, Tobago
Date and Time TBD
|Movie Towne POS and Tobago
24th -28th Oct 2018
One week of screenings for school children and the public.
|Official Launch||World Oceans Day
Medulla Art Gallery
June 22th 2018These are closed events – by invite only
|Sea Sun and Science||9th – 20th July 2018
6th – 17th August 2018
Venue: Buccoo Reef Trust, Tobago
|Intertidal Watch||16th June, 17th July, 17th August 2018
|Marine Trash Monitoring||17th September 2018.
|Art Competition||Details to come. Follow us on Facebook and twitter to to receive regular updates|
|Photo Competition||Details to come. Follow us on Facebook and twitter to receive regular updates|
|17th -18th November 2018
Why do these habitats need to be conserved?
Simply put, they are in danger.
Coral reefs are now one of the most threatened ecosystems on the planet as a result of both climate change and local human-induced pressures, such as coastal development, land-based sources of pollution and over-fishing. Ocean warming caused Tobago’s reefs to suffer severe bleaching and mass mortality in 1998, 2005 and 2010. Fortunately we were spared the consequences of one of the longest ocean warming events in recent decades. However, our reefs have not recovered from the effects of the previous three mass bleaching events in 1998, 2005 and 2010.
Incorals depend on symbiotic algae, called zooxanthellae, for energy. Bleaching occurs when abnormally high sea temperatures cause coral to expel the algae, turning the coral white and depriving it of a key source of nutrition.
Tobago experienced severe bleaching in 2010, with bleaching starting in June and ending in October. In 2005, bleaching started in June and ended in September. In 2016, for the wider Caribbean and parts of the Pacific several episodes of mass coral bleaching occurred between 2014 and 2016.
Coral reefs are important sources of economic development for Trinidad and Tobago, providing jobs in the tourism industry, food from fisheries and coastal stability and protection from offshore waves and storm surge.
We would like to hear from you. Share your hopes for our reefs and shores by leaving a comment below.