Coral reefs cover just 0.2% of the ocean floor, but they support 25% of the world's marine life. They provide coastal protection and cultural, economic, recreational, and social benefits to hundreds of millions of people. But they are dying.
Take care when diving or snorkelling
A staggering 75% of these crucial ecosystems are severely threatened – predicted to be functionally extinct across the world by 2050 if current trends don’t change, and fast! Threats to coral reefs include climate change-induced coral bleaching, pollution, and physical damage.
For the last decade, we have been rehabilitating coral reefs affected by climate change within the Cousin Island Special Reserve MPA through our 'Reef Rescuers' program. This project is currently in its third phase and is funded by the Adaptation Fund through UNDP and the Seychelles government. Since this phase began, the Reef Rescuers have constructed 4 mid-water nurseries with nearly 10,000 corals in culture and have transplanted over 3000 grown fragments in the degraded reef with a goal to restore 1 hectare by 2026.
While decision-makers take urgent climate decisions to ensure coral reefs survive, education and awareness can help promote coral reef survival and resilience. We share 10 things one can do to support coral reefs. It’s your reef too!
Educate yourself and your community about coral reefs
Take care when diving or snorkelling. Corals are fragile. Do not stand or drag your equipment on corals while diving or snorkelling. Follow sand channels where possible. Respect reef-safe guidelines when you visit a reef.
Keep your hands off the corals. Touching corals or other marine animals can be harmful to both the animal and you. Keep corals on the reef. Take only pictures, leave only bubbles.
Practise safe boating. Boats cause coral damage through improper anchoring, oil leaks, waste disposal, and accidental groundings. Report dumping or other illegal activities.
Use reef-safe sunscreen. Choose to use sunscreens and cosmetics that are not harmful to reefs, such as People4Ocean's that also supports coral reef with restoration. If you cannot find these products, try to put sunscreen on at least 45 minutes before getting in the water.
Reduce household and land-based pollution. Clean, clear water is essential for coral reefs. Pollution makes the water dirty and cloudy, and encourages algae growth. Pollution can come from sedimentation as a result of coastal development, agricultural runoff, and sewage and drainage water. Cut down on and properly dispose of herbicides, pesticides, and cleaning products so that they don't enter the waterways and ocean.
Volunteer for a beach clean up
Conserve water and energy. The less water you use, the less waste water runoff there will be. Switch to energy-efficient bulbs and electronics and try to switch off lights and electronics when not in use.
Properly dispose of trash. Litter in the sea damages marine life and smothers corals. Always clean up after yourself and remove trash others may have left behind.
Volunteer. Volunteer at local beach clean-ups. Look out for one near your local beach or start one. The global coastal clean-up in September is a good time to start.
Ditch disposables. Single-use plastic items take years to break down in landfills and contribute to waste management challenges. Changing to reusable items significantly helps.
Become a voice for corals. Educate yourself and your community about coral reefs. It's easier to protect the things you know, understand, and love.