Nov 292013
 

Corals

 

We generally think of human hair as slow-growing (remember that pixie cut that took three years to grow out?). For reference, human hair grows at a rate of 6 inches (15 cm) per year.

By stark contrast, corals grow at a rate of .01 – .06 inches (.24 – 1.5 mm) per year.

Let’s put it this way, the maximum growth rate of coral is 99% slower than the growth rate of human hair.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Colorful Fijian Coral

Corals in the USVI - Photo by Mr. Reeftraveler

Corals in the USVI – Photo by Mr. Reeftraveler

So why should we care, and why I am making this comparison?  There are many factors contributing to the dramatic decline of the world’s coral reef ecosystems.  Some are controllable, and others are less so.  At a time when many cultures are entering the holiday giving season, there is at least one factor that is almost completely under our control.  Please do not purchase coral souvenirs, decor or jewelry for yourself or as a gift.  

Yes, I know that corals are beautiful, but we must admire them only in their own habitat.  Some vendors may declare that their coral is harvested sustainably, but please don’t fall for this nonsense.  Consumer demand only fuels unsustainable, and often illegal, practices.

Remember the diver’s golden rule – “take only photos and memories, and leave only bubbles”.

For further reading-

NOAA

 

 

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