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May 19

Reef Rescue: 5 Things you can do to Protect Coral Reefs

Coral reefs are commonly referred to as the ocean’s rainforest. They are complex ecosystems, biologically rich and unique plants that need to be taken care of. However, coral reefs face a lot of dangers ranging from unaware tourists, diseases, pollution and invasive species. A decline in the levels of coral reefs has negative economic impacts and can destabilize the ecology. They are useful in carbon dioxide control in the ocean thus they play a critical role in the food chain.

The Great Barrier Reef

This is the biggest coral reef system in the world. It is composed of coral polyps and supports large life diversity. However, its thorn starfish poses a great danger to coral reefs and efforts have since been implemented to manage the thorn starfish in marine parks. You can find out more about the Great Barrier Reef, its thorn starfish and coral reefs by taking part in a tour. In this light, it is important for you to learn some techniques to implement in order to ensure that coral reefs are protected. Here are 5 things you should consider:

1. Practice responsible tourism

It is evident that most coral reefs are destroyed by tourists. This occurs when you run your speed boats on coral reefs causing serious damages. It is important to practice proper vessel management and consider finding out the exact coral reefs’ locations to avoid striking them with your vessel. It is also advisable that you do not fish near coral reefs. This is due to the fact that if the coral reefs come into contact with the fishing nets or the anchors, they may suffer damages or even die.

2. Avoid littering the ocean or the beach

Leaving litter on the beach and throwing garbage inside the ocean can harm the coral reefs. If garbage and other forms of dirt contact coral reefs, they tend to smother them. This is because coral reefs are similar to any other living organism and they are not just shells. They are alive making them susceptible to harm. It is prudent to consider taking part in beach clean-ups and assist in picking litter and garbage left by other people on the beach.

3. Do not buy coral souvenirs

Some countries are against the selling of coral reefs. However, other countries have no strict rules on this trade and you may find souvenirs and jewellery made from coral reefs. Consider not buying such items for you will be promoting the trade. Coral reefs take long to grow meaning that a single jewellery from corals can take so long to grow again. In addition, you should not buy coral reef fish as well. It is always advisable to consider inquiring about fish before buying them from pet stores.

4. Oppose global warming

Global warming indirectly causes harm to corals. This is due to the fact that coral reefs are extremely sensitive to increasing water temperatures. Minimising carbon footprints plays an important role in stopping global warming. Just a single degree increase in water temperature significantly damages coral reefs. Coral bleaching indicate possible coral reef damage. Warm oceanic temperatures tend to spur algae growth directly affecting coral reefs since algae block sunlight necessary for coral thriving. In addition, warm oceans tend to have an increased carbon dioxide level which ends up affecting coral reefs’ growth.

5. Spread the word

Most people damage coral reefs unknowingly. You should make it your responsibility to educate others about coral reefs and how fragile they can become. You can do so by becoming a member of a non-profit organization that is devoted to coral reef protection. Such organizations offer detailed information about coral reefs and why it is important to protect them on their websites. Additionally, you can sign numerous pledges that are against the use of coral reefs as jewellery.

Coral reefs inhabit both subtropical and tropical oceans. In most cases, you will find them at depths not exceeding 150ft. However, some species may extend deeper to approximately 450ft deep. They are important living organisms that play an important role in oceanic life. In this case, it is prudent to protect coral reefs by all means possible.

Guest Post by Bill Gordon