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What Can One Person Do?

  Protection of Coral Reefs and Other Environments:

  Coral reefs and the marine environment are currently under siege. The sad news is...Reefs are being destroyed by pollution, over-fishing, anchor damage, and destructive fishing practices like dynamiting and use of toxic chemicals. This fragile environment is sending an SOS to anyone who will listen. Fish populations are already down. Coral growth is slowing. If we don't help them, they'll be lost to us...forever. But there is hope.
  Each one of us has the ability to help keep coral reefs alive. Here are some of the ways that you can help them survive—

  What can you do at home?

  • Don't purchase items made from coral or other threatened marine life.
  • Don't purchase dietary supplements or other products that are made from threatened wildlife, like shark cartilage.
  • Don't order turtle, shark fin or other restaurant dishes made from threatened wildlife.
  • Make sure the tuna you purchase (fresh or canned) has been caught using dolphin-safe techniques. If it doesn't say so on the can or packaging, don't buy it!
  • Don't eat at "live-fish" restaurants where the fish may have been captured using cyanide.
  • Educate yourself about the source of the seafood you choose to eat. Prawn farms can lead to the destruction of mangroves, and shrimp are often collected by dragging nets which kill all the marine life in their path. Turtles are frequently drowned when they get caught in shrimp nets without, or with mal-functioning, TEDs (turtle excluder devices). On average, 10 pounds of fish are wasted for each pound of shrimp gathered.
  • Don't purchase tropical wood furniture or products that may come from clear-cut tropical forests.
  • Don't purchase gas-filled balloons that can find their way into the sea, rivers and lakes, and suffocate birds, fish, mammals and coral.
  • Join a highway or beach clean-up. Encourage others to join – form a group to participate together.
  • Adopt something! A manatee, perhaps - a reef, or a turtle! How about adopting a humpback whale?
  What can you do at work?
  • Join an Earthshare Payroll Deduction plan, or help establish one.
  • Monitor your company's observance of environmental conservancy practices, and clean air and other laws.
  • Tell your employer of your interest and try to promote the company's involvement, especially if business in any way touches the environment. Refer to the wonderful publicity Chevron creates for itself with its “People do!” environmental awareness advertising.
  • Encourage the purchase and use of recycled paper and plastics, and promote as much recycling as possible in your company's processes.
  • Use both sides of all paper. Make notepads out of waste paper.
  • Re-use envelopes with a label.
  If you have a tropical aquarium...
  • Don't purchase fish caught using cyanide or other poisons.
  • Don't purchase coral pieces or "live rock" for your tank unless there is proof that they were cultured (grown for sale, not taken in the wild).
  • Tell your local aquarium or pet shop that you will not buy from them unless they stock only products that do not destroy the marine environment.

  What can you do when you travel to a coral reef area...

  • Don't purchase coral souvenirs.
  • Don't purchase coral jewelry - some coral is considered a semi-precious substance, but it's even more precious in its natural habitat.
  • Support marine protected areas such as Marine Parks.
  • Donate time or money to coral reef conservation efforts.
  • Make sure the resort, boat and tour operators you use properly treat all sewage, and if they don't, refuse to use them and tell them so.
  • Don't order turtle, shark fin or other restaurant dishes made from threatened wildlife.
  • Avoid "live-fish" restaurants where the fish may have been captured using cyanide.
  If you operate a boat near coral reefs...
  • Navigate carefully to avoid contact with coral reefs and other vulnerable ecosystems.
  • Use mooring buoys whenever possible, and when there are none, anchor into the sand bottom. Never drop an anchor onto a coral reef.
  • Maintain engines properly to avoid oil and gas leaks and spills. Use pump-out stations to keep sewage out of the water and off the reefs.
  • Do not dump trash, especially plastics, overboard – even little bits, like cigarette butts.
  • If you fish, take only what you intend to eat yourself. Remove hooks carefully and return pregnant fish and juveniles unharmed. Don't throw old fishing line into the sea.

  If you dive or snorkel near coral reefs...
  • Don't touch, stand on or collect coral.
  • Respect local regulations about capturing, feeding and handling of marine life. If in doubt, don't touch it.
  • Maintain control of fins, gauges and other equipment so they do not bump against the reef.
  • Become expert in personal bouyancy control.
  • If you spear-fish or hunt, take only what you intend to eat yourself.
  • Practice diving in a pool or sandy area before diving near a reef. Get trained by experts so that you can understand and enjoy your dives more.
  • Report all damage to coral reefs to dive operators and scientific and conservation groups that monitor coral reef health.
  If you would like to help in the effort to save coral reefs, and offer support and assistance to other environmental programs, visit any of the conservation links, above right. Many accept donations and invite membership – sign up now to become an active Member.

  This is a rather long list to monitor. If you find a link that no longer functions, please let me know.

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