A coral reef is a shallow water structure created by the secretion of calcium carbonate by living organisms called corals. The existence of the marine ecosystem hinges on the life and death of the corals. If a reef is destroyed so is the marine ecosystem around it.
Active protection and restoration of coral reefs is necessary because of the importance of reefs in the ecosystem, economy, and medicine. Coral reefs are vulnerable and constantly under threat of destruction caused by predators, hurricanes, deposition, pollution, and many other factors.
So what can the land-locked do to help save the reefs?
1. Be careful of what type of fertilizers and pesticides you use in your yard.
Excess fertilizer and pesticides runoff into streams and storm drains and eventually make it to the ocean. Coral biodiversity is becoming limited in coastal waters because polluted runoff water is stunting the development of corals that cannot adapt to extreme temperature fluctuations. Runoff water management has a potential to improve temperature tolerance in inshore reefs by 2.5 ̊C.
2. Buy your fish from fish farms or eco-friendly fishing corporations.
Some fishing rigs use a large metal net to catch fish. This net drags and scrapes along the ocean floor and tears up rocks and reefs in its path. It can take dozens of years, even in the most favorable of conditions, to naturally restore the reef, and the coral variety will be limited when it does grow back.
3. Tell your vacationing friends to leave the shells on the shore.
By taking large shells, rocks, or “dead” pieces of coral from the ocean you can limit the places that new corals can grow. Remember, new corals build on the dead coral before them