How You Can Help Protect the Coral Reef Ecosystem

What you do (or don’t do) can make a difference.

Dive In! Get involved in events in your community. Your involvement can make a big difference.

  • Don’t Use Chemically Enhanced Pesticides and Fertilizers.
  • Although you may live thousands of miles from a coral reef ecosystem, these products end up in the watershed and may ultimately impact the waters that support coral.
  • Be An Informed Consumer.
  • Consider carefully the coral objects that you buy for decoration. Many reef souvenirs are unsustainably or illegally harvested.
  • Ask Your Waiter.
  • Choose seafood from those fisheries and fish farms that have the least impact on the ocean and its inhabitants.
  • Pump It - Don’t Dump It!
  • Use sewage pumpout facilities and biodegradable bilge cleaner. Never discharge bilge water at the reef.
  • Use Reef Mooring Buoys
  • or anchor in sandy areas away from coral and seagrasses so that anchor, chain, and line do not contact or damage coral or seagrasses.
  • Know Before You Go!
  • Carry and use nautical charts and know the draft of your vessel. If you run aground: STOP! Do not try to motor off. Wait until high tide to remove the vessel. Call for assistance when necessary.
  • Avoid Wildlife Disturbance.
  • Stay 100 yards or more offshore; keep speed, noise, and wakes to a minimum near mangroves.
  • Dive Responsibly.
  • Coral-friendly divers have good buoyancy control. The lightest touch with hands or equipment can damage sensitive coral polyps or remove the protective mucus layer.
  • To avoid contact with the ocean bottom, divers should only use the weight needed and practice proper buoyancy control.
  • Areas that appear empty may support new growth if left undisturbed.
  • Avoid wearing gloves and touching or collecting marine life.
  • Some species, such as queen conch and cushion sea star are protected, and cannot be taken.

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