Why I Care About Corals
The coral reef was where I first discovered my love for freediving. Spending time as a kid exploring Hawaii's reefs introduced me to the ocean and interacting with wildlife. I remember spending what seemed like forever staring at the same green sea turtle munching on seaweed and being beyond excited when exiting the water!
My time studying marine biology led me to have an appreciation for all marine life, big and small. One of my favorite things about diving the coral reef is noticing the abundance of life. The more you look at the same spot the more creatures you begin to notice.
I've only been lucky enough to freedive and photograph a healthy reef a handful of times. Unfortunately, I have seen the transformation of the reef where I watched sea turtles as a kid turn into a barren wasteland. I hope that we can work towards protecting our coral reefs so that they may have time to recover.
32% OF CORAL REEF SYSTEMS ARE IN DANGER OF BEING LOST IN THE NEXT 32 YEARS.
Why Corals Are Important To The Ocean
Corals make up 1% of the ocean yet provide habitat for about 25% of all marine life. Coral reefs serve as habitat, protection, and food for a huge amount of biodiversity.
People rely on coral reefs as a food source, income, coastal protection, medicinal properties, and recreation. Many of the fish species we eat use coral reefs as a breeding ground or nursery. It is estimated that the commercial value of coral reefs for fisheries are over $100 million.
Coral reef systems also protect coast lines from erosion and storm damage as they act as a barrier between large waves and the shore. Medicines for cancers, arthritis, bacterial infections, and more are found in corals.
How to Help Preserve Coral Reefs:
1) Snorkel/Dive respectfully.
Don’t stand on the reef. Avoid touching the reef as much as possible. If you see others doing so, try to educate and encourage them not to. If you see fishing line, debris, or plastic caught on the reef try and remove it safely without injuring yourself
2) Use actual reef safe sunscreen.
Are you sure the sunscreen you are actually using are reef safe? Unfortunately, just because it is labeled “reef safe” doesn’t mean it is. Check out my guide to reef safe sunscreens here.
photo credits: @x__e__l__a, @connerhumann