What you can do

We can still save the ‘rainforest of the sea’, the coral reefs, or what is left of them. But we have to act now.

Your contribution to the protection of coral reefs


Do not keep any marine aquariums

If you really must keep an aquarium, then choose a fresh water aquarium. Ninety percent of freshwater fish are bred in captivity.

Do not eat any coral fish
Neither at home nor on your holidays. Every year millions of tourists spend their holidays on a tropical island right next to a coral reef. If all tourists eat coral fish just once during their holiday, millions of coral fish will be removed from the nearby reef.

The marine environment will be impoverished and local communities will sooner or later have no fish left to catch once coral reefs are depleted. And without fish the coral reef dies, too.


Do not buy any reef souvenirs
Neither corals nor sea shells, snail shells or seahorses. Corals are protected; this protection should be respected.

Sea and snail shells are so shiny because they were caught alive and were killed to be sold. Empty shells lying around on the beach might be scuffed and dull, but those shells are important for the formation of sand and therefore for the stabilisation of the coral reef. Do not collect them.

One example:
The Triton’s Trumpet (Charonia tritonis) can grow up to about 40 cm and is a snail; it is one of the few predators of the Crown-of-Thorn (Acanthaster planci), a starfish feeding on stony corals. If this pretty snail is no longer present because souvenir shops are selling it to tourists, then the Crown-of-Thorn can cause big damages to the reef.

 Public Aquariums
Do not visit any public aquariums or zoos with aquariums, or at least ask where the animals come from, how many times they replace them and how there were caught.

Big aquariums have to get their animals from their natural environment, too. This also applies when aquariums replace animals (or swap them with other zoos); the origin of replacement animals might still be a wild population from a coral reef.

Do not eat any shellfish, such as shrimp.
Often these animals come from aquacultures built in locations where mangroves forests used to be – another breeding and nursing ground for coral fish.

And last but not least: Carbon dioxide (CO2) which is produced by personal transport – which also includes traveling to tropical destinations – contributes to the acidification of the sea. Therefore, coral reefs produce less calcium carbonate, stunting their growth. Fly as little as possible. If you fly, compensate for your CO2 emissions by supporting www.myclimate.org.

If you do visit a tropical sea, enjoy coral reefs on a glass bottom boat, or during a dive or snorkelling trip. Here you will find some tips on the correct behaviour to adopt while on a coral reef: Comic.