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Corals are not like flowers which are often encouraged to bloom by being picked. They are colonies of very small animals which may take hundreds of years to form the structures you see today. Sea fans which are soft corals (gorgonians) are often mistaken for plants, even these are slow to grow, and take many years to get a few inches high. Black corals which live at extreme depths where light is scarce are one of the slowest to grow. Picking all types of corals is prohibited in Florida, but unfortunately, enforcement of this law is difficult, so it is up to the educated and nature conscious diver to know better than to destroy the reef environment just for souvenirs.

Just touching corals to see what they feel like can cause the death of an entire colony. Oils from your skin can disturb the delicate mucous membranes which protected the animals from disease. If feeding coral is startled, it retracts for protection and in doing so is unable to feed. For example in John Pennycamp Park in the Florida Keys curious divers have already caused noticeable damage to the sea park and will now be fined for damaging or touching corals.

Even experienced divers have at some time in their life accidentally bumped or broken coral, so the inexperienced should be particularly careful.

Look, but PLEASE don't touch! A careless mistake could wipe out a whole community
Coral reefs are the essential breath for a vast and still unknown marine life. The zoothanthellae unicellular algae which live in the animals polyp, provides the essential oxygen for the coral to live and proliferate. Without the algae, the reef would not grow and without the coral a score of marine organisms would not exists. Crawfish, groupers, snappers, jacks, grunts and even the conch exist because of the coral reefs and their associated environments (e.g., mangroves). When coral reefs are foolishly destroyed by the use of chlorine bleach or other deadly chemicals for fishing practices, this kills the algae and corals. When you destroy the coral, you strangle the marine life of it's breath and deprive our future children of nourishment from the sea.

SOS: LES RECIFS DE CORAUX EN DANGER! Les récifs de coraux sont de véritables poumons pour le monde marin. L'algue unicelulaire zoothanthellae qui prolif&egravere sur les coraux fournit l'oxyg&egravene nécessaire pour que le corail vive et se multiplie. Sans cet algue, les récifs ne pourraient se développer et sans le corail, de nombreuses esp&egraveces n'existeraient pas. Le homard, le mérou, le rouget de même que beaucoup d'autres esp&egraveces comestibles existent uniquement grâce à la présence de récifs de coraux. Cela s'applique aussi aux éponges et aux lambies.

Quand les récifs de coraux où les environnements qui lui sont associés (comme les mangroves) sont inutilement d étruits par l'usage d'eau de javel ou d'autres substances chimiques utilisées pour la pêche, l'algue et les coraux sont détruits. D&egraves lors qu'une personne d étruit le corail, elle étrangle un peu plus le monde marin en lui coupant sa respiration. En conséquence, cela prive les générations futures de nourriture provenant de la mer. Alors, soyez vigilant! Laissez les coraux en paix!

ARRECIFES CORALINOS: DETENGAMOS SU MUERTE Los arrecifes coralinos son el pulmón esencial de una vasta y aun desconocida vida marina. El alga unicelular zoothanthellae que vive en los pólipos, provee el oxígeno y los nutrientes necesarios para que el coral viva y se reproduzca. Sin esta alga, los corales no prosperan y sin los corales, un gran n™mero de animales marinos no pueden existir. Los principales recursos marinos del Caribe; langostas, chernas, pargos, roncos y aun los cobos y espojas, existen gracias a los arrecifes marinos y sus ambientes asociados (por ejemplo, los manglares y los bancos).

Los arrecifes o sus ambientes asociados son tontamente destruídos por el uso de blanquedores clorinados o la utilización en las pesquerÌas de productos qu ímicos mortales para los peces; cuando esto ocurre, se mata también a las algas y los corales. Si usted destruye los corales, estrangula la respiración de la vida marina, privando a nuestros niños de sus alimentos venidos desde el mar.


-Should consider a flotation device (placed under their chest) if they are not the best of swimmers.
-Should never stand on coral, to adjust their mask but should swim well and clear of the reef where they can kick to keep their head out without the possibility of kicking the reef, or search for a sandy or coral free shallow place to stand.

Scuba Divers:
-Should be properly weighted and maintain neutral buoyancy for proper body control as opposed to holding onto corals for support or drifting to the bottom and accidentally kicking corals to regain their position. Ask your dive master if you need assistance in achieving neutral buoyancy.

-Should use a sand type anchor placed well away from any reef formation in sea grass or sand bottom and up wind (or tide) from where you want to dive, then allow the boat to drift into position near the reef.
-Should always check that the anchor is well secured in the sand before diving on the reef.