Coral Reefs, The Big Conservation Group

Did you know that if all the coral reefs in the world were put together they would cover an area the size of France? The coral reefs are under threat we are told. This is because of global warming and also, to a lesser extent, pollution. Reef corals show their unhappiness by, for one, bleaching, the loss of their zooanthellae which turns them white. Some coral reefs are not showing problems, some are.

There are forces in the world battling the above problem, thank goodness. An agreement has been reached to fight global warming, the Paris agreement. That seems to be a big step forward. There are other much smaller groups who tackle the coral reefs directly, removing rubbish and trying to reduce areas of pollution. There are those who educate and try to open the eyes of locals who use the coral reefs for their living. This has been successful to a large extent: corals are not normally taken from the reef itself but are grown from frags close by, meaning the reef is not plundered. Also, fish are not stunned by the use of poison which makes them easy to catch but reduces their potential lifespan, instead they are caught by divers or from the surface with nets. Thus other unfortunate lifeforms on the reef are not damaged or do not die of poison.

Yes, we humans do eventually learn. We do eventually advance thank goodness. We must always be very wary of Mother Nature, as she can be very powerful on a large scale and a small one. If we upset the balance excessively then there will be a price to pay and probably not a very nice one.

There is another conservation group who generally do not see themselves as such. They represent knowledge levels from adequate to quite advanced to scientific. They work with Mother Nature doing their best to provide conditions that will please her. The lifeforms that are kept and sometimes studied are provided with the best that can be offered today, this week, this month, this year and onwards. This group makes sure that the demands of Mother Nature are met in order to ensure as far as possible the needs of the lifeforms kept. In return Mother Nature offers satisfaction and pleasure. This group are, of course, marine aquarists.

Marine aquarists are generally world wide. They keep aquariums from very small to very large. Some keep fish only while others keep coral reefs – well, by Mother Nature’s standards very small reefs. Kept properly the coral reefs develop into fascinating life. To keep them properly the aquarist has to make some payment in money and time, but overall it isn’t that much. Occasionally, often weekly, some fresh seawater goes in to freshen things up and partially replace used up ingredients. The lifeforms need food, some is obtainable from within the aquarium but usually the aquarist feeds additionally as required. Conditions are monitored and if necessary corrected.

Are you a marine aquarist? Probably so if you’re reading this. Have you ever considered that you are a conservationist? No. Well, that’s normal. However, when you and your aquarium are put together with all the other aquariums around the world the combined overall size of the reefs and the numbers of lifeforms is immense. The reefs will not cover the area of France no doubt and the creatures will not equal the numbers in the wild. But the marine hobby represents a captive back-up, if you like. All you have to do is your bit which is, as said earlier, to keep the lifeforms happy and healthy by doing the things that should be done for maintenance. You’re not going to put your creatures back on the coral reefs of course, but your responsibility is to be, well, just that, responsible.