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An Oceanographer Suggests Creating an Underwater National Park

B. An Oceanographer Suggests Creating and Underwater National Park

Narrator: This is Science Today. Coral reefs provide several benefits to their surrounding area, but can suffer because of overfishing. Fish are important because they eat the algae which can overgrow on a coral and eventually kill it. Marine ecologist Stuart Sandin of the University of California , San Diego 's Scripps Institution of Oceanography, says that creating underwater protected areas could benefit both the fish and the corals.

Sandin: You can put in a park in certain regions and the fish stocks will grow up in some marine protected areas. A national park underwater and you just don't allow fishing in that area. If you don't allow fishing, then the fish will start to grow back. You have the fish doing their service eating the algae, protecting the algae from overgrowing the corals or fertilizing the bacteria on the corals.

Narrator: Sandin says this type of protection is necessary in allowing coral reefs to recover.

Sandin: Coral reefs have been around for millions of years, they've done very well through huge sea level changes, temperature changes and if there's one thing they have, it's a capacity to recover. One thing we have to give it is the time to recover at this point.

Narrator: For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.