What you can do

There are really hundreds of thousands of tourists going on holiday in places with reefs ever year and a large part of them could further damage this fragile ecosystem, mostly without realising it. Here’s then a list of do’s and don’ts to avoid further damages to the reefs, according to environmentalist groups:

  • never buy anything made of tortoiseshell, shark teeth, shells and coral in any country whatsoever
  • never eat any dish containing turtle meat, eggs or fat, such as the famous “turtle soup”. In particular, avoid doing this in Indonesia and Bali, where sales of this lovely dying species to tourists is unfortunately still very common
  • never eat shark-based dishes, such as the well-known “shark fin soup”. All tropical and subtropical species of sharks risk disappearing because of the indiscriminate fishing carried out to supply Chinese restaurants all over the world
  • do not overeat lobsters┬ájust because it is cheaper at the Tropics. European and American tourists have caused these shellfish to remarkably decrease in many Tropical seas
  • never buy any Chinese drugs made with reef organisms. Not only are these drugs unlikely to be effective, this trade is also threatening many species of fish, from sharks to seahorses
  • never walk on the reef, not even with rubber shoes or fins. Every step could damage the slow work that thousands of living beings have accomplished over hundreds of years
  • never touch corals or other inhabitants of this ecosystem. Not only could you hurt yourselves, but you could also kill thousands of coral polyps. In addition, watch what you tread on with your fins and how you move at sea near the reef
  • never take away any live or dead organisms belonging to the reef. Corals, shells and starfish are much more beautiful alive and left in their habitat than among your ornaments back home.

Special reports

From the Multimedia section