South Florida's coral reefs constitute the largest such ecosystem in the United States, and nationally they fuel a $4 billion a year industry that sustains up to 35,000 jobs. So caring for them is not just good environmental stewardship, its important to our economy.
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Time chronicles the two latest human-induced incidents of damage to the reefs, including one off Palm Beach that a diver called the worst he's ever seen. A cable line from a tugboat cut a swath in the reef around 200 yards long and 70 feet wide. State officials will be working to repair as much as they can, but hard coral will take years, even decades to recover. As far as holding anyone responsible, they say its near impossible to track down the culprits.