United States

The Florida Reef System is truly one-of-a-kind: It’s the only coral reef system in the continental United States. But our reef is experiencing serious challenges, and those of us who enjoy and benefit from it the most—anglers and divers—can make an impact.

Dive shops, fishing charter operations and other related businesses all depend on this truly unique natural system for their livelihoods, underscoring the need for all of us to do our part.

Here are six simple ways to #RespectOurReef.

  1. Anchors Away! Whether you’re on the reef to fish or dive, make sure to anchor well away from coral heads. Anchor chains or lines can kill them or do serious damage.
  2. Please Don’t Touch: It may be hard to believe, but just touching corals can kill them, badly harm them or spread disease from one coral to the next.
  3. Use the Right Sunscreen: Avoid buying sunscreens with these chemicals that are toxic to living corals: oxybenzone, avobenzone and octinoxate.
  4. Keep It Clean: Don’t leave unwanted fishing lines or any other litter in the water, whether you’re on the reef or at the pier, as these materials can be deadly to coral reefs and marine life.
  5. See It, Report It: Anglers and divers know the reef better than anyone, and recognize issues like coral bleaching and disease that others might not. If you spot these issues or any others, report them. Information is key.
  6. Share this pledge with others so they can join the #RespectOurReef movement.
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Dear TNC

I agree that we must act to protect and respect the Florida Reef System, the only coral reef system of its kind in the continental United States.

The Florida Reef is vital to the health of our Atlantic and Gulf waters, as it supports an abundance of marine life and fish stocks. The Reef also contributes significantly to the Florida tourism economy and supports thousands of Florida jobs, from charter fishing captains to divemasters.

I'm adding my voice to The Nature Conservancy's call for all who visit the Florida Reef to respect this precious habitat and do their part to ensure that it endures forever.