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...
Dec 30, 2014

Thank you--and best fishes for a wonderful 2015!

Namena Marine Reserve, Fiji
Namena Marine Reserve, Fiji

Every day, those of us at CORAL give thanks to reefs for all they provide: beauty, food, storm protection, livelihoods, and more. And we give back by working tirelessly—with your support—to protect them.

For example, today, thanks to your partnership with CORAL, there are:

  • More sharks in the Namena Marine Reserve . . .
  • Recovering fish populations in Roatan’s Sandy Bay-West End Marine Reserve and Maui’s Kahekili Herbivore Fisheries Management Area . . .
  • Significant new protections for some of the Mesoamerican Reef’s most spectacular coral habitats and for sharks and rays in parts of the Coral Triangle . . .
  • Commitments from many groups in Hawai‘i, including government officials and hotel staff, to address head-on the problems caused for reefs by wastewater . . .
  • Programs in Honduras, Fiji, and Indonesia where dive tourism directly funds conservation and community initiatives, providing compelling incentives for locals to protect their reefs . . .
  • People who have changed their behaviors—whether while diving on a reef, decorating their homes, or planning for their new fish tank—to reduce their impact on coral reefs . . .

As our second decade comes to a close, we know that we have many reasons to be thankful for reefs and what we have accomplished for them . . . and even more reasons to be committed to doing even more in the year—and years—to come.

Thank you for your support.  And best “fishes” for a wonderful 2015!

The CORAL Team

Fishers in Bali
Fishers in Bali
Partners in Honduras
Partners in Honduras
Floating Workshop in Maui (photo by Amanda Stone)
Floating Workshop in Maui (photo by Amanda Stone)

Links:

Sep 25, 2014

Building Cohorts of Coral Advocates

Utila Conservation Fund in Action by Lucie Brown
Utila Conservation Fund in Action by Lucie Brown

The threats facing coral reefs are too significant to be combatted by one person, one organization, or even one strategy. That's why the cornerstone of CORAL's work is building partnerships. Over the last couple fo months, we've shared a few new examples of how we're helping to grow and provide tools for a growing network of coral advocates and thought you might be interested in hearing about them!

Since 2012, CORAL has been working on the Honduran island of Utila to bring together conservation groups, local government officials, fisherman, and other community members to collectively address conservation priorities. One of our first tasks was creating a shared bank account; we then provided the initial funding for what is now called the Utila Conservation Fund.

We are happy to share that the first Utila Conservation Fund project was launched in June. The team created informative reef etiquette posters that have been distributed to local businesses. The graphics aim to educate tourists about the beautiful underwater world that Utila boasts and inspire ownership and pride among local residents. If you’re traveling to Utila for your next dive adventure, be sure to check them out!

Also, as part of our 2011 Building Reef Resilience to Climate Change workshops, CORAL issued a series of microgrants to participants so they could implement local scale projects that would put what they learned into practice. Thailand participants Srisakul Piromvaragorn and James True started a small campaign with the Reef Guardian group in the province of Satun to encourage people to stop hunting parrotfish on Lipe Island.

Now, they have joined with other partners and scaled up their successful efforts to stop the selling of parrotfish in the cities. In July, several large supermarkets pledged to ban the selling of parrotfish in their stores!

We congratulate Srisakul, James, and all of our partners in Utila on their great work. We're so proud to have helped start and bolster these fantastic programs and so grateful to you for making them possible with your support.

Jun 23, 2014

"Snorkel Tours" Help Inform Local Leaders

Maui County Mayor Alan Arakawa and Liz Foote
Maui County Mayor Alan Arakawa and Liz Foote

Sometimes building a network of coral reef advocates means getting wet—and on Maui recently, this meant that even the mayor dove in. This spring, field managers Liz Foote and Wesley Crile, along with partners from the West Maui Ridge to Reef Initiative and the Division of Aquatic Resources, are holding a series of “snorkel tours” for local decision makers and other stakeholders. The first one was held at—and in—the Kahekili Herbivore Fisheries Management Area. Before taking to the water, Liz spoke to the group about CORAL’s work with resorts to promote water conservation and support the county’s efforts to expand wastewater reuse infrastructure. A greater network of recycled wastewater pipes will ultimately improve local reef health and conserve potable water supplies.

On the tour, participants saw reef conditions ranging from dead zones to healthy coral with a school of grazing surgeonfishes, a hopeful sign of recovery. Says Liz, “The mayor, who arrived barefoot with his mask and fins in a bucket, and who is an avid waterman, was eagerly engaged and interested in exploring solutions together. He is supportive of holistic watershed-based conservation strategies in line with the Hawaiian concept of ahupua‘a management.” Ahupua’a refers to the traditional Hawaiian concept of managing land and other natural resources from the mountains to the sea.

CORAL’s Hawai‘i staff is also working with the 15-year old founder of ReefQuest, Dylan Vecchione, to build a “network” of coral reef images by taking overlapping photos of Maui reefs that will be used in ReefQuest’s online educational tool, the “Virtual Reef.” The Virtual Reef uses Microsoft’s Photosynth technology to create a three-dimensional rendering of the reef that can be used to monitor reef health over time (monitoring will take place on a biennial basis). Liz says she will use it in workshops and lesson plans for teachers as well as for speaking to decision makers. “It’s a great way for people who cannot or do not want to get in the water to see a reef,” she says.

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