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Almost half the coral reef ecosystems in United States territory are in poor or fair condition, mostly because of rising ocean temperatures, according to a government report released Monday.
Timothy Keeney, NOAA's deputy assistant secretary for oceans and atmosphere, said 25 percent of all marine species need coral reefs to live and grow, while 40 percent of the fish caught commercially use reefs to breed.
Since NOAA's last report in 2005, the Caribbean region has lost at least 50 percent of its corals, largely because sea temperatures have risen, Keeney said.