Coral Reef NOAA
 
April 24, 2014  

What You Can Do



Even though most deep-sea corals live miles from shore and at depths that few humans venture to, some of our actions still impact them. Below are a few ways that you can help reduce impacts to deep-sea corals and help conserve them:

Red tree corals
A red tree coral (Primnoa sp.) caught during a NOAA Fisheries groundfish stock assessment in Dixon Entrance, Gulf of Alaska. Photo Credit: R. Lauth, NOAA

Choose Sustainable Seafood. Deep-sea corals are vulnerable to damage caused by some types of bottom-tending fishing gear. If you eat seafood, follow the recommendations of seafood awareness campaigns, such as Seafood WATCH® or the Seafood Choices Alliance. Many such campaigns have produced handy wallet cards that you can carry with you to help you always make choices that support healthy and abundant oceans. Let restaurants and grocers in your community know that you, their customer, care about where your seafood comes from. Encourage them to shift their seafood purchases towards more sustainable choices.

Pink coral necklaces
Pink coral necklaces for sale in Japan. Photo Credit: A. Bruckner, NOAA

Corals are already a gift. Don't give them as presents. Corals are popular as souvenirs, for home decor and in jewelry, yet corals are living animals and it can take decades to centuries, or longer, for them to grow and mature.

Conserve energy. If every household in the U.S. replaced a burned-out bulb with an energy-efficient, ENERGY STAR-qualified compact fluorescent bulb, it would prevent greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to that from at least 800,000 cars. Speaking of cars, driving less, carpooling, and using public transportation help in reducing emissions and the need to expand offshore drilling for oil and gas to new areas that may contain deep-sea coral habitats. Find other simple ways to conserve energy, which not only can save money, but could reduce the impacts of climate change and ocean acidification on corals and other organisms.

Conserving energy would reduce the need to expand offshore drilling and build more oil platforms, like this one. Photo Credit: NOAA
Conserving energy would reduce the need to expand offshore drilling and build more oil platforms, like this one. Photo Credit: NOAA

Educate yourself about deep-sea corals and the creatures they support. How many different species live in the deep sea? What new medicines have been developed from deep-sea corals and sponges? How long will it take to replace a deep-sea coral that is harvested or damaged? When you further your own education, you can help others understand the fragility and value of the world's coral reefs.

Deep-sea Corallium and Trachythela corals with brittle stars, crinoids, and sponges.
Deep-sea Corallium and Trachythela corals with brittle stars, crinoids, and sponges. Photo Credit: Mountains in the Sea Research Team and Institute for Explorations

For more ideas on what you can do to help all types of coral ecosystems, click here.

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