Colombia is one of South America’s northernmost countries, its shores opening up to the Caribbean, and housing some of the most complex and beautiful coral reef formations in the region.
Home to one of among the largest and most important coral reefs located near the Colombian shoreline. The reef covers about 255 square kilometers, and is 32 km long, its formations being unusually complex, due to the fact that it is located quite a long distance from the shore and subjected to powerful waves and currents.
Together with smaller reef formations located in Colombian waters, the Archipelago de San Andres is home to hundreds of reef fish species, the most common of which include Redband Parrotfish, Foureye Butterflyfish, Blue Chromis and less frequently spotted species such as Spanish Hogfish and Yellow Goatfish.
Tourism is the main source of income for the regions close to the Colombian coral reefs, the exceptional beauty and complexity of the reefs continuing to attract divers and researchers from many parts of the world. Recently, however, environmental changes have begun threatening the reef formations’ integrity.
Colombian coral reefs, particularly in the San Andres region, have, in recent years, been heavily affected by bleaching due to global warming. In 2005 alone, up to 35-40% of local coral reefs underwent bleaching as a result of increasing ocean temperatures.
The Colombian government has since taken measures to help preserve the beauty and health of the country’s rich coral reef formations, hoping to counter the increasing negative effect of growing sea surface temperatures.