Originally founded in 1994 to galvanize the dive community around conservation, CORAL has grown from a small, grassroots alliance into a world-renowned organization with a history of successfully working with local communities in coral reef regions around the world to protect their coral reefs. They believe that for conservation to be durable, the interventions must be aligned with the social, cultural and economic needs of each community and that local leaders must be empowered to lead the effort. Now, they are honing the strategies and tools to ensure that they benefit new places and new people.
CORAL recognizes that the best chance to save coral reefs is in collaboration with the people who are most closely connected to coral reefs. In partnership with local communities, they take a multipronged approach to restoring and protecting coral reefs. The signature initiatives are:
Healthy Fisheries for Reefs
Clean Water for Reefs
Intact Reef Ecosystems
Science of Adaptation
At the heart of the work are Adaptive Reefscapes – networks of healthy reefs that can adapt to climate change because they are diverse, connected and large.
Throughout the work, they rely on the following strategies:
Using science to inform solutions
In the Puakō community in Hawaiʻi, they are collaborating with university partners to conduct dye tracer studies that track the movement of wastewater from cesspools to the ocean.
Building partnerships with stakeholders
In Indonesia, they work with local partner Lensa Masyarakat Nusantara (LMN) to implement PhotoVoices, a project that encourages locals to identify conservation priorities by photographing environmental issues in their community.
Creating win-wins for communities and conservation
In Fiji, they established a voluntary dive fee system for tourists visiting the Namena Marine Reserve, which funds management costs, community infrastructure projects and a scholarship program that has benefitted over 200 students.
Ensuring that policies support conservation
In Honduras, they encouraged the government to declare two new Sites of Wildlife Importance: Cordelia Banks in Roatán and Tela Bay. The designation affords a greater level of protection and regulation, thereby reducing fishing pressure and enabling coral reefs to thrive.
Establishing effective and sustainable local management systems
In the Mesoamerican Region, they support the partners Amigos de Roatán Marine Park in conducting patrols and effectively managing Roatán’s Marine Protected Areas (MPAs).