Reef Relief began in 1987 with the installation of reef mooring buoys in Key West. That first step became a system of 116 buoys at 7 reefs that they maintained for 10 years. Led by founder Craig Quirolo, Reef Relief has created coral nurseries to save storm-damaged corals in the Florida Keys and Bahamas. Craig led a 15 year Coral Photo Monitoring Survey of reef health that is currently being loaded onto an online archive at www.reefrelief.org. This survey has led to the discovery of several new coral diseases. Craig has worked with Reef Relief’s Scientific Advisory Board and numerous other researchers to identify the causes of decline at the reef. This past March he was coauthored on a scientific publication that studied the spread of aspergillosis, a common soil-based fungus that has adapted to the saltwater environment and is now attacking Purple Sea Fans.
They have supported the creation of marine protected areas such as the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary, the Negril (Jamaica) Marine Park, and established the Key West Marine Park in cooperation with the City of Key West. They’ve helped install buoys and establish programs throughout the Caribbean, including mooring buoys, a coral survey and operation of the volunteer-staffed Captain Roland Roberts House Environmental Center in Green Turtle Cay in the Abaco, Bahamas.
Their Clean Water Campaign has led the effort to identify sewage contamination, agricultural runoff, cruise ships, boats, and other sources of pollution that are affecting water quality at coral reefs in South Florida and around the globe. They have studied the issues, identified solutions, and guided policy development through implementation for a range that includes advanced, nutrient stripping waste treatment for the City of Key West, establishment of a boater No Discharge Zone in the Florida Keys, passage of a phosphate ban for laundry detergents, approval of bans on offshore oil drilling and exploration for South Florida, increased state standards for shallow injection wells, and a host of other actions. Reef Relief has been a watchdog for coral reefs. Today they are working to gain added protection by adding corals to the U.S. Endangered Species List that will hopefully trigger additional protections at the federal level.
Mission: Reef Relief is a nonprofit membership organization dedicated to improving and protecting our coral reef ecosystem. Our programs instill an attitude of stewardship in boaters, divers, fishermen and the general public when they are on the water and on land.
Where is Reef Relief