Tourism is becoming important for coral reefs. Every year about 1.6 million people visit Australiaís Great Barrier Reef, spending approximately $600 million! Some of this money is used to help pay for the park rangers who protect the coral reefs, and some of the best marine protected areas are paid for by tourism. And the best tourists go home and tell others about the wonders of the reefÖ

Things you can do if you go to a coral reef area:

1: Donít buy corals, sponges, seashells or other reef animals from the gift shops. Coral skeletons are used for decoration in aquariums and fashioned into jewelry and sculptures. Excessive collecting decimates reef species and throws the reef ecosystems out of balance. In 1990, the world consumption of corals for the souvenir trade was estimated at 2,200 tons a year.

2: Do not purchase tropical wood furniture or products obtained from clear-cut tropical forests. Such forests cause siltation damage to coral reefs.

3: Stay in a hotel that cares for the environment and, donít be shy, ask them about their sewage - itís you who might have to swim in it.

4: Choose tour operators that properly treat all sewage and wastewater appropriately.

5:Support the establishment of coral reef protected areas and encourage better protection and management for those that exist.

6:Choose the "right" fish when you buy seafood. Inform yourself and do not buy fish that are caught or farmed using destructive or unsustainable practices. This includes reef-killing poisons, explosives and illegal equipment.


1: While diving or snorkeling, never sit on or stand up on the corals, and even touch them as they are easily broken and can be harmed by being handled.

2: Make sure the person in charge of your boat avoids contact with coral reefs and doesnít drop an anchor on them. Dropped boat anchors can gouge the reef and crush corals. Boaters should be very careful when navigating around the coral reefs. Anchors shouldn't be dropped directly on the reef, but rather on near-by sandy areas.

3:Do not collect shells.

4: Do not leave garbage behind. Never throw litter in the sea! Even litter thrown far from the reef can be carried by rivers or the wind, and may drift through the oceans for years. Many turtles die each year after getting tangled in plastic or choking on trash.

5: Be an A.W.A.R.E. diver. Enroll in an AWARE-specialty course with a PADI professional to increase your knowledge about coral reefs and other aquatic environment.