Our corals’ reefs are succumbing each and every day to global warming, pollution, and over-fishing. According to the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, about half of our reefs have already died, and 90 percent may disappear by 2050. Coral reefs are essentially the rain forests of the oceans and you know how important that is to the Earth.
Corals are not only for the beauty of the ocean, but they also help thousands of fish species. Therefore coral reef extinction may lead to the eradication of those fish as well.
After observing the states of the coral reefs, many non-profit organizations, divers and ecological agencies have decided to go on a quest to save our reefs. A group of people came with the term “coral gardening” which allows restoring the corals.
What Is Coral Gardening?
Coral gardening involves collecting coral fragments and dividing them into multiple pieces to encourage growth. Afterward, they are either put in a coral nursery in a laboratory or in the ocean nursery itself. In the nurseries, corals are attached to a metal structure in areas that encourage them to grow and ensures the safety of these nascent corals.
Will Coral Gardening Work?
We have seen many results through coral gardening, but if this method will allow us to save our reefs is another question. Some biologists claim that coral gardening alone won’t be enough to restore our coral reefs after the years of damage they have endured.
Even though it sounds pretty simple, coral gardening can be very challenging. For example, some corals in land-based nurseries are not used to the ocean-atmosphere, and once they are placed back into the ocean, they may not survive. Or, at times, there can be an outbreak of the disease in the nursery.
What Can We Do to Protect Coral Reefs?
You may think that your actions have nothing to do with the degradation of our reefs. Let me tell you that no matter where you are, your actions may impact our reefs. Here’s a list of changes that may help our reefs and the environment in general.
Diving is very common, everyone wants to see the beauty of the ocean, but diving agencies should warn their clients.- Dive, do not touch. When diving, do not touch the reefs as they are very delicate. Touching coral can cause the death of an entire colony. So be careful with swimming palms, and try not to walk on them either.
– Use toxin-free sunscreen, or if you are using long-sleeved shirts, you can do without sunscreen.
– Be environment friendly- The three ‘R’; recycle, reuse, reduce. Most of our waste goes to the ocean. Avoid leaving cigarettes but on the beach as it will eventually wash away into the ocean and they take years to degrade.
– Minimize the use of fertilizers. Vegetation that is close to rivers should minimize the use of fertilizers as they go to the ocean and pollution will harm coral reefs.
What Else Can I Do?
You are free to spread awareness about coral conservation. How? We urge you to go read and educate yourself on the topic. There are plenty of resources available online, and organizations are also conducting seminars almost everywhere to inform people about the bad state of our coral reefs. Maybe you will even join them on the journey of saving our reefs.
Our reefs are of high importance; they are not there only to look pretty. They are home to many fish species that will soon vanish if we do not protect them. Many people rely on the ocean to make a living, and they know about the importance of our reefs, but they won’t be able to do it alone. They will need the help of everyone. The last fact, half of the oxygen in the Earth’s atmosphere is produced by corals! So, they are of even higher importance for humanity. Let us know in the comments how you will contribute to saving our reefs.