Current status of coral reefs in India: importance, rising threats and policies for its conservation and management

Coral reefs are the most ancient and diverse eco-systems on earth, occupying less than 1 percent of the ocean floor and host more than 25 percent of all known marine species of the world. Reefs provide wide range of economic and environmental services to millions of people. Despite their immense importance, coral reefs are being damaged and destroyed due to natural and anthropogenic activities. If the same situation continues, by 2030, 90 percent of the reefs will be in danger and are likely to cause hunger, poverty and political instability around the world as the livelihoods of millions of people would disappear. In this context, studying the status of coral reefs and increasing threats to them becomes extremely important. The objective of this study is to focus on the exploitation of corals, understand their importance and analyse government policies intended for its conservation and management. The reef formation in India is restricted to four major centres Gulf of Kutch, Gulf of Mannar, Lakshadweep Islands and Andaman and Nicobar Islands.