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Experts call for more efforts to save coral reefs

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MIAMI, FL - MAY 20: Emilee Golden, from the University of Miami Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science, places a piece of Orbicella Faveolata coral into a holding tank after collecting the sample from an area of living coral reef off of the South Florida coast on May 20, 2016 in Miami, Florida. The team of researchers from Andrew Baker's lab is researching the affect of warming and ocean acidification on coral in South Florida. They are part of a world wide response to try and save the marine invertebrates from the unprecedented bleaching of coral that is taking place around the world from places such as the Great Barrier Reef in Australia to the reefs off of the coast of Florida. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

HONOLULU (AP) – As the largest international gathering of coral reef experts comes to a close, scientists and policy makers are moving ahead with plans for action to save the world’s imperiled reefs.

Heads of state from Palau, Micronesia and the Marshall Islands attended the conference and provided a plan of action to address their ailing coral reefs, which are major contributors to their local economies and the daily sustenance of their people.

The call to action, signed by the three presidents, asked for better collaboration between the scientific community and local governments, saying there needs to be more funding and a strengthened commitment to protecting the reefs.

James Cook University Professor Terry Hughes, who is also the president of the Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies in Australia, said the scientific community is not ready to write the obituary on the world’s reefs.