reef-friendly businesses. Ask what your dive shop, boating
store, tour operators, hotel and other coastal businesses
are doing to save the coral reefs. This is especially important
in coastal areas with reefs. Let them know you are an informed
consumer and care about reefs.
use chemically enhanced pesticides and fertilizers. Although
you may live thousands of miles from a coral reef ecosystem,
these products end up in the watershed and may ultimately
impact the waters that support coral.
for a reef cleanup. You dont live near a coral reef?
Then do what many people do with their vacation: visit a coral
reef. Spend an afternoon enjoying the beauty of one of the
worlds treasures while helping to preserve it for future
more about coral reefs. How many different species live in
reefs? What new medicines have been discovered in reef organisms.
Participate in training or educational programs that focus
on reef ecology. When you further your own education, you
can help others understand the fragility and value of the
worlds coral reefs.
a member of your local aquarium or zoo. Ask what they are
doing and what your donation can do toward saving the worlds
coral reefs. The answer may pleasantly surprise you.
you visit a coral reef, help keep it healthy by respecting
all local guidelines, recommendations, regulations, and customs.
Ask local authorities or your dive shop hot to protect the
conservation organizations. Many of them have coral reef programs,
and your much-needed monetary support will make a big difference.
the word. Remember your own excitement at learning how important
the planets coral reefs are to us and the intricate
global ecosystem. Sharing this excitement gets everyone you
speak with involved.
an informed consumer. Consider carefully the coral objects
that you buy for your coffee table. Ask the store owner or
manager from what country the coral is taken and whether or
not that country has a management plan to insure that the
harvest was legal and sustainable over time.
pollute. Never put garbage or human waste in the water. Dont
leave trash on the beach.
This is the first step each of us can take to make a change.
Recycle anything and everything. If your community doesnt
have a program, do it anyway, and get one started.
water. The less water you use, the less runoff and wastewater
that eventually finds its way back into our oceans.
dumping or other illegal activities. Environmental enforcement
cannot be everywhere, and your involvement can make a big
it clean. You may be in the habit of picking up your own trash.
You may even participate in an organized cleanup. But have
you considered carrying away the trash that others have left
buy marine aquarium fish if you know they have been collected
in an ecologically sound manner. In some areas, marine fish
harvested for the pet trade, are stunned with sodium cyanide
so that capturing them is easier.
the net! Many different addresses exist to link you to information
about coral reefs and what you can do to become involved.
A good starting point is at http://www.noaa.gov/public-affairs/coral-reef.html
start a liverock aquarium. Although this living rock is still
harvested legally in some places, its collection is devastating
to the reef organisms habitat.
local guides when visiting coral reef ecosystems. Not only
do you learn about the local resources, but you will be protecting
the future of the reef by supporting a non-consumptive economy
around that reef.
anchor on the reef. If you go boating near a coral reef, use
mooring buoy systems when they are available.
you dive, dont touch! Take only pictures and leave only
bubbles! Keep your fins gear, and hands away from the
coral, as this contact can hurt you and will damage the delicate
coral animals. Stay off the bottom because stirred-up sediment
can settle on coral and smother it.
in the Great American Fish Count. What better way to enjoy
your vacation time than snorkeling or diving in Americas
coral reefs and helping scientists better understand reef
Volunteer and community coral reef monitoring programs are
very important. If you do not live near a coast, get involved
in your local save the river (bay, lake, or other estuarine
environment) program. Remember, all watersheds affect the
oceans and eventually the coral reefs.
the creation and maintenance of marine parks and reserves.
Encourage your friends to get involved with projects to protect
a wastewater crusader! Make sure that sewage from your boat,
from others boats, and from land is correctly treated.
The nutrients from sewage feed growing algae that can smother
and kill corals.
yourself. Find out about existing and proposed laws, programs,
and projects that could affect the worlds coral reefs.