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Saving The Coral Reefs

 

Sea Fan Base

Coral reefs are among the most biologically diverse ecosystems on earth. They are second only to tropical rain forests in the number of species they harbor and are sometimes referred to as “the rain forests of the sea”. Reefs support incredible marine biodiversity including a multitude of fish species, lobsters, sea turtles and a multitude of other creatures.

Risk analyses indicate that more than 90% of the world’s reefs will be threatened by climate change and local anthropogenic impacts by the year 2030 under our current climate scenario. Increasing temperatures and solar radiation cause coral bleaching that has resulted in extensive coral mortality. Major storms and hurricanes as well as other long term stressors such as coral disease, over fishing, sediment runoff, nutrient enrichment, contaminants and abrasion of the reef structure by debris, vessel scarring and carless snorkelers and divers place additional stress on these fragile ecosystems which are fighting for their survival.

What can we do to help?

As sailors, we all derive great pleasure from snorkeling and diving on the Caribbean's coral reef system. I return we assume the natural responsibility of stewardship to ensure they will be here and healthy for future generations to enjoy.

5 things you can do to help

 

  1. Reduce our direct impact. Don’t touch corals when diving or snorkeling, make sure your equipment does not drag across the reef, make sure outboards do not come into contact with reef systems and do not anchor in or near coral. Do not collect corals.
  2. Eliminate pollution. Don’t pump marine heads or holding tanks when moored or anchored near coral. Vessels should not discharge in BVI waters within 300 yards of the shoreline. Never discharge oily bilge water or waste and never throw food scraps over the side.
  3. Educate your crew and passengers on the devastating consequences of coral bleaching and ocean acidification and ensure they understand the impact of coral harvesting.
  4. Support reef conservation efforts. Review the resource links below and get involved in a conservation effort.
  5. Act now. 

 

Resources:

REEF An active association of divers and marine enthusiasts committed to conservation www.reef.org

Project Aware  Teaching conservation and responsibility www.projectaware.org

The Association of Reef Keepers  A BVI organization supporting reef monitoring activities www.arkbvi.org

 

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