Oceana Observes 2008 as the "International Year of the Reef" - Oceana USA

Oceana Observes 2008 as the “International Year of the Reef”

Ocean Conservation Group Suggests Ways that Individuals Can Help Global Efforts to Protect Coral Reefs

Press Release Date: January 30, 2008

Location: Washington, DC

Contact:

Dustin Cranor, APR 954.348.1314

Oceana is encouraging people to help global efforts to save coral reefs and acknowledge 2008 as the International Year of the Reef (IYOR), as designated by the International Coral Reef Initiative.

“Protecting coral reefs is a key step in preventing ocean collapse and preserving a healthy ocean ecosystem for future generations,” said Andy Sharpless, CEO for Oceana. “Reefs face increasing dangers from pollution, coastal development, overfishing, global climate change and bottom trawling – which causes more direct and avoidable damage to the ocean floor than any other human activity in the world.”

Limiting and/or prohibiting bottom trawling in areas known or suspected to contain deep sea coral and sponge habitat continues to be a major goal for Oceana in 2008.  Since the organization was founded in 2001, over one million square miles of sea floor have been protected from destructive trawling due to Oceana’s work.

To help raise awareness of IYOR, Oceana is reaching out to its 300,000 supporters to help corals by adopting practices found on IYOR’s website (http://iyor.org/resources/tips.asp), and supporting Oceana’s international coral protection work by donating or encouraging friends to sign up at www.Oceana.org/support.  

“Corals are found around the world in every type of condition imaginable,” said Suzanne Garrett, Oceana’s dive program coordinator. “From warm to cold, and deep to shallow waters, they provide food and shelter for innumerable marine creatures.”

She added, “Despite covering less than one percent of the ocean floor, reefs are estimated to provide habitat to one quarter of the planet’s marine life; they also act as a natural barrier for coastal regions and provide endless recreational opportunities for scuba divers and snorkelers.”

As part of Oceana’s continuing mission to protect the world’s oceans, its research catamaran, the Ranger, has been sailing around the Mediterranean Sea since 2005 to document the threats posed to coral reefs and marine creatures.  Photographs of coral reefs from the Ranger’s most recent voyages can be found here: www.oceana.org/europe/aboard-the-ranger/mediterranean-2007/pictures/. 

To request high resolution images of these and other coral reef photographs, contact Kevin Connor at kconnor@oceana.org or 202-467-1910.