The Coral Reef Alliance

Healthy coral reefs are some of the most diverse and valuable ecosystems on the planet. Nearly a billion people live near coral reefs, with many relying on reefs for food, coastal protection from storms and erosion, and income from fishing, recreation, and tourism*. At a global scale, coral reefs have enormous intrinsic value as the ocean's richest biodiversity hotspot. In addition, coral reef biodiversity is increasingly becoming a primary source for the biological compounds used to develop new medicines. Yet coral reefs also represent one of the most imperiled biomes on the planet. An estimated 60 percent of the world's reefs are under immediate and direct threat from local activities suc...

The Coral Reef Alliance
351 California Street, Suite 650
Suite 650
San Francisco, CA 94104
United States
415-834-0900
http://www.coral.org

Executive Director

Michael Webster

Board of Directors

Michael Bennett, Dan Dunn

Project Leaders

Sarah Freiermuth

Mission

Healthy coral reefs are some of the most diverse and valuable ecosystems on the planet. Nearly a billion people live near coral reefs, with many relying on reefs for food, coastal protection from storms and erosion, and income from fishing, recreation, and tourism*. At a global scale, coral reefs have enormous intrinsic value as the ocean's richest biodiversity hotspot. In addition, coral reef biodiversity is increasingly becoming a primary source for the biological compounds used to develop new medicines. Yet coral reefs also represent one of the most imperiled biomes on the planet. An estimated 60 percent of the world's reefs are under immediate and direct threat from local activities such as overfishing, coastal development, or nutrient run-off, and all indications are that growing human populations and climate change will exacerbate this problem*. Thus, one of the greatest conservation challenges of our time is to rethink and restructure the relationship between humans and coral reefs to ensure that the long-term interests of people are aligned with maintaining healthy reefs. The mission of the Coral Reef Alliance (CORAL) is to unite communities to save coral reefs. Our focus is on revising the incentive structures of local communities so that reef degradation is not an external by-product of day-to-day life; rather, maintaining reef health is prioritized because it is essential to economic and cultural interests. Currently, our main efforts are focused on communities and reefs in five countries-Fiji, Honduras, Indonesia, Mexico, and the United States-Hawaii-with special projects that allow us to work in more than fifteen additional countries. We see abundant opportunities to expand our work further, but we must first overcome resource constraints.

Programs

Working with people around the world-from fishermen to government leaders, divers to scientists, Californians to Fijians-the Coral Reef Alliance protects our most valuable and threatened ecosystem. We lead holistic conservation programs that improve coral reef health and resilience and are replicated across the globe. Our goal is to increase the capacity of marine recreation providers, reef resource managers, and local community members to work collaboratively toward conservation. On completion of our work, community members at each destination have the fundamental skills and abilities to implement effective and financially sustainable coral conservation strategies. Because of the distinct cultural and social background of each of the countries in which we work, our projects take on a unique feel and direction based on the site. Examples of the specific initiatives in some of our sites are: Fiji: Scattered across roughly 1.3 million square kilometers of the South Pacific, the Fijian Archipelago encompasses one of the most extensive coral reef systems in the world. The rich biodiversity of marine life in this area is one of the most important reasons that CORAL chose to focus our project work in the Kubulau community. CORAL has provided training for local tourism businesses, which is helping community members improve their business practices, reduce anchor damage to the reef, and educate visitors about environmentally responsible tourism. By demonstrating how the development of well-managed marine protected areas can benefit the overall community, CORAL facilitated the establishment of no-take marine reserves that are improving the health and resiliency of the reefs. Along with our local partners, CORAL is making real progress toward the creation of sustainable coral reefs and communities in Fiji. Hawaii: CORAL has launched a number of exciting initiatives in Hawaii, including the development and successful balloting of voluntary standards for marine tourism in West Hawaii. We are also promoting sustainable tourism and reef stewardship within the state's accommodations sector, and working with this group to improve water quality along Hawaii's coastlines. We are also helping citizen scientists to provide valuable coral reef monitoring data through our online Coral Reef Monitoring Data Portal. We worked with a number of conservation partners to establish the successful Take a Bite out of Fish Feeding education and awareness campaign, which is designed to eliminate the feeding of reef fish and the sale of fish food. More than thirty Hawaii-based marine recreation businesses have pledged their support. CORAL and its partners have also created a series of educational Respecting Coral Reefs interpretive signs. Local businesses and organizations can "adopt" a sign and fund its installation near heavily trafficked visitor areas. Mexico: Mexico is home to a variety of natural resources that, along with its rich historical and cultural offerings, has made the country one of the top ten tourist destinations on the planet. Marine recreation activities like diving, snorkeling, and wildlife viewing are extremely popular in Mexico; as a result, tourist cities and towns are expanding dramatically to provide space for hotels and other infrastructure. The impact of this development directly impacts the health of coastal ecosystems, including coral reefs, which are vital to the local economy. Creating sustainable tourism is the key to managing this growth in a way that supports both the people in the area and the coral reefs on which they depend. CORAL works in the communities of Playa del Carmen and Cozumel to make healthy marine recreation practices the norm for this growing region. Mexico's popularity as a tourism destination has led to explosive growth and development. If this development isn't guided by sustainable environmental practices, the unrestricted growth will damage the reefs and ruin the tourist trade. Overuse by tourists, combined with pollution and sediment run-off, smothers reefs as well. CORAL trains local leaders to address these issues in the marine recreation sector while protecting reefs and community members.

Statistics on The Coral Reef Alliance

Financial Statistics

  • Annual Budget for 2013: $3,499,382
  • Religious Affiliation: None
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