The number of people living on the coasts has rapidly increased in recent decades, causing significant development of coastal areas. Coastal development can negatively impact the ocean through the destruction of coastal marine habitat and through run-off of sediments and pollution.
- Coastal development involves activities such as the creation of harbors, stabilization of shorelines, and aquaculture that involve the destruction of sensitive marine habitats such as mangroves, coral reefs, and seagrass beds.
- Coastal development may cause the run-off of sediments into coastal habitats, which can smother corals or seaweeds and reduce the amount of light available for photosynthesis. Losses of primary producers and important habitat-forming species such as corals can negatively impact entire food webs.