Reefs have been in existence for millennia. To help protect our coral reefs, we need to be cautious when interacted with it. They are very resistant to threats, trauma, and stress. Coral reefs can quickly bounce back when faced with difficult experiences. Today, our reefs are facing extensive global pressure due to:
- Ocean acidification (carbon dioxide gas in the atmosphere dissolving into the ocean),
- Rising temperatures,
- Climate change.
Other pressures experienced by coral reefs come from local sources and include:
- Coastal pollution (beach pollution),
- Mining (mining and burning coal raise the level of CO2 pollution),
- Sedimentation(suspended material settling on the floor/seabed);
- Tourism (buying souvenirs with shells, traveling by boat/place, sunscreen, etc.),
Tourism is having a significant impact on the reefs because of all the developments of infrastructures required. Resorts, hotels, and support services such as staff quarters and restaurants have caused an increase in pollutants as well as nutrients in the seawater. There are certain things that divers can do to make a positive impact on our reefs. The initiative Reef Resilience Network is teaching us more and more about coral resilience with its network of marine biologist, marine park managers and different field experts.
Helping to Support Reef Resistance
Every year there are 1,000,000 new divers. Today, many people want to see the reefs for themselves. This has been facilitated by a better accessibility, and cost reduction. On top of that we could talk about an improved safety, and comfort or equipment compare to the 90’s.
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. Therefor, the coral reefs will be more vulnerable.
- If you hold onto or touch corals, you could easily stress the organism. By stressing corals they will eject their zooxanthellae, which is then called “bleaching”. Multiply this by the number of divers in the area, and the other stress factors. It could kill the coral.
- 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 the reef resistance. Leaving the coral deal with larger threats and on a wider scale.
Help Coral Along
Whenever you go diving next, you must remember that it is dealing with lots of other stressors daily and does not need any more from you. To help the coral along, here are our tips :
Ensure that you stay away from coral reefs. Keep a distance of about 3 meters away so that you do not come into contact with coral by accident. This would be causing an extra stressor.
Use appropriate sun protection such as a rashguard, or reef-safe sunscreen such as Stream2Sea. Use our promo-code “abyssoceanworld” for a 10% discount).
Be a marine crusader and reduce your consumption of fish and goods.