Washington, DC — Oceana is encouraging people to helpglobal efforts to save coral reefs and acknowledge 2008 as theInternational Year of the Reef (IYOR), as designated by theInternational Coral Reef Initiative.
“Protecting coral reefsis a key step in preventing ocean collapse and preserving a healthyocean ecosystem for future generations,” said Andy Sharpless, CEO forOceana. “Reefs face increasing dangers from pollution, coastaldevelopment, overfishing, global climate change and bottom trawling –which causes more direct and avoidable damage to the ocean floor thanany other human activity in the world.”
Limiting and/orprohibiting bottom trawling in areas known or suspected to contain deepsea coral and sponge habitat continues to be a major goal for Oceana in2008. Since the organization was founded in 2001, over one millionsquare miles of sea floor have been protected from destructive trawlingdue to Oceana’s work.
To help raise awareness of IYOR,Oceana is reaching out to its 300,000 supporters to help corals byadopting practices found on IYOR’s website(http://iyor.org/resources/tips.asp), and supporting Oceana’sinternational coral protection work by donating or encouraging friendsto sign up at www.Oceana.org/support.
“Corals are foundaround the world in every type of condition imaginable,” said SuzanneGarrett, Oceana’s dive program coordinator. “From warm to cold, anddeep to shallow waters, they provide food and shelter for innumerablemarine creatures.”
She added, “Despite covering less thanone percent of the ocean floor, reefs are estimated to provide habitatto one quarter of the planet’s marine life; they also act as a naturalbarrier for coastal regions and provide endless recreationalopportunities for scuba divers and snorkelers.”
As part ofOceana’s continuing mission to protect the world’s oceans, its researchcatamaran, the Ranger, has been sailing around the Mediterranean Seasince 2005 to document the threats posed to coral reefs and marinecreatures. Photographs of coral reefs from the Ranger’s most recentvoyages can be found here:
Kevin Connor (firstname.lastname@example.org)