The Philippines attracts thousands of divers every year and the Philippines has the longest combined stretch of coastline of any nation in the world, and as such is home to an immense amount of coral reefs.One area blessed with a wealth of world class dive sites coral reefs on Apo Island, to the whalesharks of Oslob and of course the diving off the coast of Dauin, renowned for the enigmatic mimic octopus, seahorses and frogfish. If you are considering visiting the Philippines as scuba diver or snorkeler, please have a quick glance at these three top tips for responsible water activities. So you can help preserve the beauty of the marine parks, as well as the livelihood of the local people by making informed choices about how you dive and snorkel.
Feeding the fish is not allowed
In the Philippines, the corals are a sensitive ecosystem, where there’s a mechanism that keeps working in order. There’s encroaching sponges and algae that kill off coral, but in turn provide sustenance for the fish that eats the algae. The fish use the reef to seek shelter, find food and the reef fish in turn become food for larger pelagic fish, some of which we eat. When tourists feed cheap foods to the fish, they stop grazing the reefs. The algae then kills off the reef as it’s not being held in check, and in turn stops being a breeding ground for new fish generations. Which means that the larger pelagic fish suffers as well.
The shells look pretty and exotic on the beach, but will look tacky and tasteless in your living room.
Even empty shells on the beach play their part. Take nothing and please don’t collect anything while diving or snorkeling. (Ever heard about cone shells by the way? – their poisonous stingers are primed to teach shell collectors not to make that mistake twice.
Vendors selling shells on the beaches earn a meagre living – but by buying their products you are encouraging them not only to collect the shells on the beach, but in the sea as well – your demand will drive them to do it – and in the sea the molluscs are still alive.
Although corals are tiny organisms, they construct some of the largest and most ecologically important structures in the world. Members of a diverse group that includes jellyfish and anemones, most corals live in extensive colonies, and many types form compartments around themselves made of rock-like calcium carbonate that protect them from predators. These tiny exoskeletons, replicated by countless coral polyps, serve as the building blocks for massive coral reefs that fringe coastlines around the world.
Unfortunately, the survival of approximately 75 percent of the world’s tropical coral reefs is currently under threat and 25 percent of Earth’s reefs have already been lost. Global warming and ocean acidification are two of the most important factors, but not the only threats. To better understand how to conserve and protect these fragile habitats. Academy scientists have begun cultivating coral donated from partnering aquariums and regional governments. As well as from clippings sustainable and legally harvested during expeditions. Some of the results of this work can be seen here in this unique 212,000-gallon exhibit.