World Reef Day: Strategic and Vulnerable

World Reef Day is commemorated on June 1. This celebration aims to create awareness among communities about the fragile biological system of our ocean´s reefs and the importance of rescuing them.

What is a reef?
Reefs are marine communities that can be compared to a forest. They are even known as the “tropical forests of the sea,” as they are home to a great diversity of marine animals, such as sea snails, fish, sea urchins, starfish, crabs, octopus, lobsters, and other invertebrates, as well as algae and seagrasses.

These ecosystems, located especially in tropical, warm, and shallow waters, play an important role in nature since they serve as breeding grounds for species, act as a natural barrier for the coasts during hurricanes as they intervene in the change of direction and speed of ocean currents and are closely related to other ecosystems, such as mangroves, where some fish and other invertebrates come from to begin their reproduction process.

Types of reefs

According to their structure, reefs are classified in three types: coral, rocky or artificial. These three types can be found in Mexico in important reef areas. An example are the reefs of Cozumel in the state of Quintana Roo.

Coral reefs, a threatened ecosystem

Coral reefs offer a beautiful underwater landscape thanks to their colorful diversity of shapes and fauna that inhabit them. Unfortunately, they face a series of threats that jeopardize their survival. Factors such as land pollution that eventually reaches the ocean, overfishing, coral harvesting for commercial purposes and the rise in ocean temperatures are some of the most important threats to the flora and fauna of the coral reefs.

Can we save coral reefs?

To save coral reefs it is necessary to take urgent measures to reduce pollution, restore degraded areas and protect those that are still in good condition.

You can contribute to the conservation and protection of reefs by taking the following actions:
• When you go on vacation to the beach, use environmentally friendly sunscreen. Many sunscreens contain harmful ingredients that bleach corals.
• If you go scuba diving or snorkeling, do not touch or step on corals.
• Don’t buy souvenirs made from coral.
• Reduce your plastic consumption.

Coral reefs, a colorful underwater landscape