Researchers from a university in Saudi Arabia have concluded in their first baseline survey of reefs that the southern Red Sea in their country to be one of the country's treasured nature. They even said that it could be as pristine as the reefs in Sudan if it would be given a proper care.
In an article published in Phys.org, it was revealed that the major issue on the research by scientists from King Abdullah University of Science and Technology is that there has been no established historical record for the Red Sea ecosystems. Darren Coker, one of the researchers of the study, said that this could mean that they could only hypothesize what the natural coral reef environment could look like before human activities life fishing began.
In order to conduct their study without prior established historical record, Coker, together with Alexander Kattan and Michael Berumen, systematically compared 14 of Saudi Arabia's coral reefs with 16 offshore reefs in Sudan. The reefs were described as around 200 to 300 kilometers apart and share almost identical environmental conditions in terms of climate, coral species, and sea temperature. However, in the study published in Link Springer titled "Reef fish communities in the central Red Sea show evidence of asymmetrical fishing pressure," Saudi Arabia has already established a history of fishing, while the country of Sudan has yet to provide one.
"There is much more to the story than just the numbers of fish we see," Berumen said. He also said that they have collected and analyzed data between and within regions in order to look for community diversity, fish abundance, and biomass across all the coral reefs surveyed.
The research team found out that the biomass of top predators in coral reefs located at Sudan was almost thrice that of the reefs in Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabian waters have rare top predators, in which researchers blame to fishing activities.
However, Saudi Arabia's coral reefs were around 62 percent higher in terms of fish abundance compared to the Sudanese waters. Saudi Arabia's reefs are also 20 percent higher in terms of biomass and there is a slightly greater diversity compared to the other one.