Hello to all the Marine Biologists of Whyville! I am amazed to see all the support for the South Reef. So far there have been over 350 Reef Management Plans signed, 300 faceparts designed, many articles submitted for the Whyville Times, and over 1.9 million clams donated. Wow! Because of your efforts the South Reef is becoming healthier, and we are very close to Saving our Reef!
I would like to share a real life coral reef story that is similar to our own. Apo is a small island in the Philippines, which is in South East Asia. It has some of the most beautiful coral reefs in the world, but it wasn't always this way.
In the past Apo had a very small population, and almost all of the people were fishermen. However, in the 1950's the population started to grow very quickly. There were more and more fishermen and fish were getting harder and harder to find. The fishermen started to use more aggressive fishing methods so they could catch the fish they needed. They used nets with smaller holes to catch more fish, they used cyanide (a strong poison) to kill more fish, and even used dynamite to blast fish out of the water. The coral reef got worse and worse, and there were less and less fish to catch.
Then in the 1970's Dr. Angel Alcala and 14 local families decided to make a small part of the coral reef a marine sanctuary where there was no fishing allowed. At first many of the fishermen were not happy about this plan, because they thought there would be even less fish for them to catch. The 14 families had the support of the local government leader and they were able to make a small marine sanctuary. One member of each family would take turns watching their protected coral reef to make sure no one was fishing. Soon after the fish in the marine sanctuary started to increase. They started to increase so much they spilled over into the unprotected areas, and fishermen were able to catch more fish! In the end all of the families on the island supported the marine sanctuary, and they passed a law to always protect it. Today the coral reefs are healthy and beautiful, and the fishermen can support their families. The people on Apo are finding more and more ways to protect and manage their reefs.
People all over the world are doing things just like the people on Apo did. They are taking action to protect their coral reefs! Now it is up to all of us to do the same. We must not give up and keep working hard to Save the Reef!
Author's Note: Source: http://www.ecotippingpoints.org/ETP-Stories/indepth/apo-philippines.html
Source for picture: www.arnekuilman.nl