For hundreds of years, reef resources of the Red Sea were used sustainably. There was nothing intrinsically different about earlier cultures which allowed us to be sustainable; rather it came about from the low density of the populations living along the coasts. In the last few decades, increased population and the resultant increase of activities in the coastal areas, such as urbanization, industrialization and a growing tourism industry, have caused the damage of coral formations in many areas of the world, and the Red Sea is no exception, particularly near the urban areas. Accordingly, the protection of coral reefs is becoming increasingly difficult, particularly of reefs near human settlements (Stoddart and Johannes, 1978).
The Red Sea has a number of unique marine habitats, including sea grass beds, saltpans, mangroves, coral reefs and saltmarshes. Unfortunately, these areas are also experiencing an increasing amount of unsustainable practicies each year, which has already impacted local wildlife. As coastal development, tourism and fishing remains a major local activity, the future of the natural habitats is uncertain.