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Anguilla's Coral Reefs and How We Can Protect Them

February 17, 2016
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Often times when we think of coral reefs, we imagine colorful sponges that serve as the home to tropical fish. But do we actually know the purpose of corals or how the formations are formed? According to economists, coral reefs are estimated to have a value of $375 billion per year. They are home to millions of species and provide a number of services to people around the globe, including acting as protection to coastlines during powerful storms. Coral reefs also serve as nurseries for fisheries, which results in food for millions of people. Coral reefs attract tourists, snorkelers and divers which bring in millions of tourism dollars. They're especially a favorite with our medical students at Anguilla!   Currently, 75% of the world's reefs are at risk from local and global threats, which include overfishing, untreated sewage, coastal development, destructive fishing, ship damage and more. Climate change also plays a large role in the destruction of coral reefs through rising sea temperatures and carbon dioxide concentrations. While some coral reefs are still large and healthy, many of the Caribbean reefs have been destroyed. Some of the ocean's reefs are resilient when it comes to natures problems but a large portion of the issues are man made. Coral reef biologist Kristen Marhaver studies the ecology, behavior and reproductive biology of Caribbean reef corals. In her TEDTalk linked below, she goes into detail about what coral is, what it needs to survive and what she's doing to help. Anguilla Coral Reef Saint James School of Medicine Here on Anguilla, we are fortunate to have an abundance of clear and calm bays that allow us to have the perfect environment for scuba diving and snorkeling. Whether we choose to spend the day at Crocus Bay, Dog Island, Shoal Bay East, Prickly Pear or Stoney Bay Marine Park, we often take advantage of the beautiful reefs that allow us to live along this incredible ecosystem. In order to do our part in preserving some of the Caribbean's greatest features, follow these tips in order to help our corals thrive in their environment:
  • Follow all local regulations that are designed to protect reef ecosystems
  • Fish sustainably
  • Avoid causing physical damage to reefs via boat anchors or touching reefs while diving and snorkeling
  • Support the local Anguilla conservation efforts
  • Choose eco-conscious tourist activities
  • Voice the knowledge you've learned through this post to people who you see stepping on the coral or littering
  • Skip on buying souvenirs that are made from corals
Let's work together to do our part in protecting the nature that protects us here on beautiful Anguilla!
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