Be Reef Resistance
Reefs have been in existence for millennia. They are very resistant to threats, trauma and stress and are able to quickly bounce back when faced with difficult experiences. Today, our reefs are facing extensive global pressure due to ocean acidification, rising temperatures and climate change. Other pressures experienced by coral reefs come from local sources and include coastal pollution, mining, sedimentation, tourism and fishing.
Tourism is having a significant effect on the reefs because of all the developments such as resorts, hotels and support services such as staff quarters and restaurants that have caused an increase in pollutants as well as nutrients in the sea water. There are certain things that divers can do to make a positive impact on our reefs.
Helping to Support Reef Resistance
Every year there are 1,000,000 new divers. Today, many people want to see the reefs for themselves and this has been facilitated by improved safety, comfortable equipment, reduced costs and better accessibility.
How you as a diver will interact and behave around marine life and coral is a reflection of your values.
- If you harass and chase marine life, kick or touch coral, you will be removing its protective layer which leaves it more vulnerable.
- If you hold onto or touch multiple corals, you could easily spread viruses from a diseased coral to a healthy one which will cause more stress to the organism.
- If you feed the marine life, it means that they will not be feeding on marine algae and detritus which is found on coral. As such, the coral will have to figure out how to clean themselves and waste their energy.
These things may seem small when you consider all the other global pressures that coral is facing but they are well within your power to do. By removing the pressure listed above, you will be helping reef resistance, leaving the coral to deal with threats that are larger and of a wider scale.
Help Coral Along
Whenever you go diving next, whether the coral looks healthy or not, you must remember that it is dealing with lots of other stressors on a daily basis and does not need any more from you. In order to help the coral along, ensure that you stay away from it. Keep a distance of about 3 meters away so that you do not come into contact with coral by accident causing an additional stressor.