Existing more than 500 million years, coral reefs, today’s “rainforests of the sea”, are vital to maintaining the biological diversity of our world’s oceans. Like colorful undersea gardens, reefs offer a delicate balance of beauty, serenity and life. But if we don’ act now to halt the demise of earth’s treasures, we may lose them forever.
It’s a formidable task, no doubt! But as a diver or marine enthusiasts, we can help protect the living reefs:
- Avoid purchasing souvenirs made from coral or any threatened or endangered marine species,
- Support the establishment of coral reef protected areas and encourage better protection and management for those that exist.
- While traveling, choose resorts and tour operators that properly treat all sewage and waste water.
- While operating a boat, navigate carefully to avoid contact with coral reefs and other vulnerable ecosystems such as sea grass beds and maintain engine equipment to prevent oil and gas spills.
- As a diver or snorkeler, choose tour operators that use mooring bouys or drift diving techniques whenever possible rather than anchors that can cause reef damage.
- Make wise decisions in selecting seafood by avoiding menu items that are caught or farmed using destructive or unsustainable practices including reef-kiking poisons, explosives and illegal equipment.
- Avoid purchasing tropical wood furniture or products obtained from clear-cut tropical forests causing siltation damage to coral reefs.
- As a diver, practice bouyancy control skills in a pool or sandy area before diving near a coral reef. Make sure your gauges and equipment are secured to avoid accidental contact with the reef and never touch, stand on or collect coral. Be an AWARE diver.
- Report all damage of coral reefs to dive operators, scientific or conservation groups that monitor coral reef health.
- Enroll in an AWARE Specialty Course with a PADI professional to increase your knowledge about coral reefs and other aquatic environments.