OFF the Water: Things You Can Do

Protection of marine ecosystems can continue long after leaving the water. Even if you live far from the ocean or a coral reef, you still have an impact on reef health and conservation; there is now a greater need than ever to ensure that this impact is positive.

Below are some things we can all do to make a positive difference.

Avoid contact with  the reef

Replace burned-out light bulbs with energy-efficient, ENERGY STAR-qualified compact fluorescent bulbs. If every household in the U.S. did this, it would prevent greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to that from at least 800,000 cars.


Never stand or rest  on corals

Avoid buying coral or other reef souvenirs for home décor and as costume jewelry. Remember that corals are living animals that eat, grow, and reproduce. It takes coral decades or longer to create reef structures, so leave corals and other marine life on the reef.


Maintain proper  buoyancy

Use naturally derived and biodegradable household cleaning products and zero-phosphorus fertilizers. Chemicals from your home are eventually carried to the ocean. Just one pound of phosphorus in water produces an estimated five hundred pounds of algae, blocking sunlight and starving coral reefs.


Make sure that all  equipment is secure

Learn why healthy coral reefs are valuable to the people, fish, plants, and animals that depend on them. The health of the environment depends largely on how it is treated, and how it is treated depends largely on how much you know about it.


Maintain a  comfortable distance from the reef

Make sustainable seafood choices. Let restaurants and grocers in your community know that you, their customer, care about where your seafood comes from. Encourage them to shift their seafood purchases towards more sustainable choices.


Do not touch, handle,  feed, or ride marine life

Find out about existing and proposed laws, programs, and projects that could affect the nation’s coral reefs. If you visit a reef, be sure to respect local customs, recommendations, and regulations.


Don't collect souvenirs  from the reef

Volunteer for activities that support the reef. These activities might include community coral reef monitoring programs, fish counts, or beach or reef cleanups. If you don’t live near a reef, participate in activities that support your watershed.



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