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Coral Reef Tourism

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The ocean serves as home to many mysterious, yet fascinating creatures. One of the more intriguing elements of the ocean is the miles upon miles of coral reefs. These creations are both a beauty to look at, and a scientific marvel. Scientists have studied coral reefs for years and each new discovery helps to better understand them. Due to these new discoveries, countries are beginning to rely on the reefs for their economical growth. There are three issues that the governments that depend upon these reefs are faced with: understanding the roles that the reefs play, the harmful effects to the reefs, and the steps that are being taken.

Reefs play a huge role in the lives of many people. A number of people that live near the reefs rely heavily on the tourisms that the reefs bring in. According, to the article "Color Cast in Stone", Katherine Johnson reports "Tourism on the Great Barrier Reef pumps an estimated $1 billion annually into the Australian economy. Tourism on the Florida reef is worth about $1.6 billion annually, while in the Caribbean the figure is a staggering $90 billion" (38). Reefs help aid poorer countries generate more profit into their country and allow job availability. Along with the tourism, tourist gift shops begin to open up. These shops also offer more jobs and more revenue for the host country. People that visit the reefs refer to it as a vacation to remember. Divers, snorklers, cruise ships, and small tourist boats generally account for the larger number of tourists. During the summer months the coral begins to come alive, and this makes it more appealing to the tourists' eye. On the other hand, the growing numbers of tourists also produce a risk to the reef.

Without realizing it the tourists are proving to be a threat to the corals themselves. Divers and snorklers flock to the reefs by the thousands each summer, but they leave behind unwanted reminders. In the article, "Coral Catch-22", Ed Buckley explains that "In season, when a few hundred people hit the water with sunscreen on, touch coral, and stand on it, the devastation can be huge" (Gardner 22). From time to time a diver might accidentally knock off the coral or kick up sand that settles on the reef. Over time however, the sediment begins to accumulate and the coral deteriorates. Propellers from cruise ship shift around residue in the ocean that settles on the reefs and over time begin to cover them. When the sediment settles on the reefs and creates muddy water, sunlight that is vital to the survival of the plants and animals is reduced. Cruise ships and smaller tourist boats also drop large, heavy anchors that run along



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