Restore Coral Reefs
Coral reefs are rapidly disappearing in our generation. These glorious ocean reefs host some of the oldest ecosystems on the planet -- some over 200 million years old – yet currently 75 percent of the world’s coral reefs are threatened by local and global pressures, according to the World Resources Institute. Left unchecked, the percent of threatened reefs will increase to more than 90% by 2030 and to nearly all reefs by 2050.
Coral reefs decline at our peril: Caribbean reef sponges provide antiviral drugs and anti-cancer agents; Indian Ocean reefs offer promising new medicines for breast and liver cancers, tumors, and leukemia; and Bahamian coral has been found to contain anti-inflammatory properties. Coral reefs also aid communities by acting as natural buffers (protecting shorelines from waves and erosion), serve as feeding and breeding areas for many types of commercial fish and shellfish, and generate much-needed tourism dollars in areas with no other source of income.
But rapid coastal development, pollution, destructive fishing practices, and unregulated tourism and scuba diving activities are threatening to destroy the world's ocean reefs and fish. Because most ocean reef grows at only half-an-inch a year, once they've been lost, we will never see our coral reefs return to their splendor.
The good news is that scuba diver and non-diver volunteers can help restore and preserve coral reefs and reef fish by creating marine sanctuaries, transplanting reefs, and monitoring data to prevent future coral reef losses. You can experience the magnificent underwater coral gardens of the sea while protecting the reefs at the same time.
I Did This!
Even before you embark on your volunteer vacation, you can make all your dives count and help to protect our coral reefs around the world if you are a diver and want to monitor coral reefs and contribute data for Project AWARE CoralWatch. In addition, more information on coral reef conservation is available from the Coral Reef Alliance and the Coral Reef Conservation Program.
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