Alliance Highlights the Damage of Feeding Fish

The Coral Reef Alliance (CORAL) has joined forces with Leisure Pro, the Internet's largest scuba diving and snorkeling merchant, to raise awareness about the endangered state of the planet's coral reefs, according to an Aug. 26 press release.

In observance of International Year of the Reef 2008, Leisure Pro is drawing on its extensive customer base to educate the public about reef destruction and the ways CORAL is working to protect coral reefs and the communities that depend on them.

To support this partnership and CORAL's "Take a Bite out of Fish Feeding" campaign (an effort launched in Hawaii to eliminate reef fish feeding), Leisure Pro has agreed to stop selling fish food. The practice of feeding fish can have disastrous effects on coral reefs by altering predator-prey relationships and pushing delicate ecosystems out of balance. When people feed algae grazers like surgeonfish, the fish fill up on fish food and eat less algae, causing the algae to flourish and potentially smother the reef.

"Our concern about coral reef damage has brought us a new awareness of the harm caused by reef fish feeding," said Phil Mendel, chief executive officer of Leisure Pro. "By ceasing to sell fish food, we will hopefully not only reduce supply but also raise consciousness about the damage wrought."

Mendel said he believes "the world is interconnected . . . business and the environment must go hand in hand."

CORAL Executive Director Brian Huse agrees, noting that "CORAL's unique, mission-driven partnership with Leisure Pro affords the opportunity to reach active people who care deeply about the environment. CORAL was originally founded by passionate divers, and the dive community continues to be one of our key conservation partners around the world."

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