In 2013 and 2014, HRI and partners systematically measured the health of 248 reef sites across 1,000 km of the four countries. This 2015 Report Card represents the first year that HRI has calculated and presented more detailed maps of coral reef condition on a variety of spatial scales -- from regional to local. Regional scale data provide insight on larger scale reef health patterns that can help identify transboundary issues, while subregional and local data help detect finer-scale patterns of reef condition. The country-focused maps provide individual indicator scores at the site level. These new data maps provide guidance for partners on where to focus conservation actions at the most appropriate, effective management scale.
The overall 2015 Reef Health Index score is 'fair', with encouraging improvements at both the regional level and of individual indicators. Corals -- the architects of the reef -- have improved since 2006, increasing from 10%-16% cover. Fleshy macroalgae, the main competitors with corals for open reef space, have increased. Key herbivorous fish continue to increase in numbers and are needed to reduce this macroalgae. Commercial fish have also increased in biomass, which is an encouraging sign, although large groupers are rare and mainly found in fully protected zones of MPAs.