Coral reefs are incredibly valuable, mysterious and fascinating ecosystems. Unfortunately, they are slowly being destroyed and exposed to a wide range of threats that might see this underwater paradise become extinct if people do not up their efforts of helping save corals. Destructive actions like destructive and uncontrolled fishing methods, pollution from industrial and domestic wastes, pesticides and fertilizers, oil spills, anchor damage, land runoffs and improperly treated or untreated sewage all pose serious threats to coral reefs.
This delicate ecosystem is also gravely harmed by fine sediments such as silt. When the sediments cloud the water, the amount of light which reaches the coral is seriously cut down which seriously threatens the marine life harboring in the corals. Coral reefs are also highly sensitive and grow in the water where the amount of nutrients available is quite low. As such, when these nutrients are polluted, the corals ultimately die. Global warming is yet another factor that has been greatly responsible for the destruction of the coral reef. The increased temperatures in the coral habitats create a highly stressful living environment where corals barely survive. In the long run, the corals loose their pigmentation through the process of coral bleaching.
But there is so much that individuals can do to help save the coral reefs. Whether you leave several miles from the nearest coral reef or you live just next to them, there are many things you can do to help them and minimize your impact on them. When visiting coral reefs for example, it is essential that you strictly follow the local regulations that aim at protecting coral reef ecosystems. For instance, littering the shoreline can lead to increased destruction of the coral reefs.
Fishing needs to be done sustainably and fisher men should avoid catching breeding marine animals, juveniles, rare species and spawning aggregations. The use of highly destructive fishing practices such as blast fishing, trawling and poisoning should be stopped. Those visiting the coral reefs should avoid causing any physical damages to them with their boat anchors or touching or trampling the reefs while snorkeling or diving. Household waste needs to be reduced including fertilizers and chemicals which ultimately find their way into the corals. Individuals also need to support local coral reef conservation efforts by joining organizations like savingcorals.com and taking an active role in protection of the corals.
As an individual concerned about conservation of coral reefs, it is also important that you take it upon yourself to educate the masses about the importance of protecting the corals from the impeding destruction that they face. Buying souvenirs that are made from marine species like corals always lead to increased demand for them which in turn leads to more destruction as people try as much as they can to profit from the booming business. Wherever you are, be sustainable and advocate for the protection of the environment and coral reefs from destruction. Taking such initiatives of saving the corals will really help a lot in reducing your coral reef footprint and ensuring that the future generations benefit from them as well.