Wednesday, October 5, 2011
As of 2011, the National Marine Fisheries Services is considering whether to list eighty-two species of coral as threatened or endangered. Seventy-five of these species are found in the Pacific and nine are found in Hawaiian waters. Scientific research shows that coral reefs could be facing extinction due to overfishing, pollution, global warming and ocean acidification. Scientists fear that if we do not work to protect coral reefs they could be lost within decades. The loss of coral reefs could have devastating effects for the planet as a whole. Coral reefs provide food and economic benefits to populations around the globe.
I urge you to take a minute to consider Kauai’s resources and read the tips below. These tips can help you protect coral reefs, both here in Hawaii and world-wide. Many of these tips can be practiced while you are visiting Kauai, but they are also applicable when you return home, even if you live far from the ocean.
1.) Reduce your carbon footprint. Carbon dioxide contributes to global warming and ocean acidification, both of which can have devastating effects on coral reef ecosystems.
2.) Reduce your plastic consumption. Avoid plastic grocery bags (now illegal on Kauai), cut six-pack rings and recycle. Marine debris is a threat to sea birds and marine life by both ingestion and entanglement. Chemical leaching from plastics may provide an additional threat. Did you know there is an island of floating plastic the size of Texas somewhere out in the middle of the Pacific Ocean and it is wreaking havoc on sea bird and other marine life populations?
3.) Take steps to decrease overfishing and support sustainable fishing practices. One way you can do this is to choose vegetarian and sustainable menu options when visiting local restaurants.
4.) Get educated. Learn more about oceans and reefs so that you can help others understand their value.
5.) Prevent marine water pollution in the following two ways: a.) Avoid the use of potential pollutants and chemicals by choosing eco friendly products and b.) Minimize your own runoff by decreasing impervious surfaces at home.
6.) Support green and reef-friendly businesses and/or encourage businesses to participate in reef protection and education activities.
7.) Support sustainable development, especially the reduction of impervious surfaces. Unsustainable coastal development in particular can present a huge threat to reefs and marine resources.
8.) Support local conservation programs and organizations such as Save our Seas and Surf Rider Foundation.
9.) If you are a boater, never anchor directly onto a reef. Instead, anchor in sandy areas or on moorings and only support tour companies that follow this rule.
10.) If you have a salt water aquarium, be an “informed aquarist”; choose cultured species and avoid purchasing gathered species.
Please feel free to comment below if you have additional tips!