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Death of coral reefs could devastate nations

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Coral reefs are dying, and scientists and governments around the world are contemplating what will happen if they disappear altogether. The idea positively scares them.

Coral reefs are part of the foundation of the ocean food chain. Nearly half the fish the world eats make their homes around them. Hundreds of millions of people worldwide - by some estimates, 1 billion across Asia alone - depend on them for their food and their livelihoods.

If the reefs vanished, experts say, hunger, poverty and political instability could ensue. "Whole nations will be threatened in terms of their existence," said Carl Gustaf Lundin of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature.

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