Why We Care
Coral reefs are a natural wonder. They are fragile living organisms that play a vital role in ocean ecosystems by providing invaluable habitat for its vast array of marine life. Coral reefs create incredibly beautiful and colorful environments to house the oceans most unique fish. In addition to their beauty, coral reefs have a large social and economic impact on humans. They provide food and coastal protection that acts as a barrier against natural disasters like hurricanes and tsunamis. They generate eco-tourism in the form of diving and snorkeling to fund local economies. It is estimated that the services provided by coral reefs are worth $375 billion annually (Coral Reef Alliance, 2014). Furthermore, coral and marine life may provide an increasing role in human lives through the development of new vaccines and pharmaceuticals to help cure and treat diseases.
Although coral reefs play an important role in social and economic growth, they are constantly being threatened by human interaction. These fragile ecosystems are in danger of disappearing through overfishing, coral mining, unsafe tourism practices, and warming temperatures.
Based in Minneapolis, Minnesota, a cold environment far away from our ocean’s coasts, NoCoast Aquatics is only able to experience the beauty and wonder of our coral reefs through aquariums. Building reef aquariums has provided a chance for us, as hobbyists, to study and explore an ecosystem inaccessible to us by location. The ocean is still wholly unknown to science, having explored less than 5% of it, and aquariums give all of us an opportunity to study and learn more every day. As interest and understanding of coral reefs has grown, so has our urgency to ensure that our enjoyment of aquariums does not contribute to the decline of coral reefs across the world.
NoCoast Aquatics’ Commitment to Sustainability
At NoCoast Aquatics we believe that each of us, as aquarium hobbyists, must do our part to ensure that coral reefs are not threatened by our hobby. We built our organization to expand the possibilities of sustainable practices in the aquarist industry. We are leading the way in sustainability by creating a state-of-the-art facility to supply sourced aquaculture, captive-bred, and mariculture livestock; reducing the need to take native marine life from the ocean. Through selective distribution and sale of sustainable animals, we believe that we can contribute to the growth of an important hobby, one that ensures we are not putting any further pressure on our fragile coral reefs.
A Smart Future in Aquaculture
With the continued destruction of our oceans most fragile ecosystem, we founded NoCoast Aquatics as a smarter option for the reef enthusiast. Using marine life sourced through aquaculture (cultured in marine holding systems) and mariculture (grown in man-made systems within the ocean) is not only a conscious choice for the environment, but a smart choice for the home aquarist as well. Because our facilities were designed and built specifically to house maricultured and aquacultured marine animals, we supply only the highest quality, cultured marine life. Our marine life comes to your door ready to exist within an aquarium environment leading to quicker acclimation, extremely low death rates, and an easier, more humane transition for the animal. Aquacultured marine life is cost-effective for the buyer, making it a viable and sustainable solution for the conscious reef enthusiast.
Not only does aquaculture and mariculture take pressure off of our reefs, these solutions promote a sustainable industry in developing countries. In many coastal countries around the world, people depend upon coral and marine life harvesting and mining for income. By introducing mariculture to coastal communities, it boosts the local economy by providing stable jobs while helping to shift focus away from destructive harvesting. NoCoast Aquatics envisions a future where local economies will use mariculture to cultivate quality marine life supporting research, conservation and the enjoyment of home aquariums.
A Call to Action
It is imperative that the home aquarist industry gets behind aquaculture , mariculture and captive breeding as sustainable solutions to avoid the destruction of our coral reefs. Furthermore, our industry is at risk of losing access to the marine life we cherish through environmental protection regulations unless we join in to demanding sustainable practices in our industry. As aquarists it is important to support conservation efforts whenever possible by educating yourself and others on the urgent need for “reef-friendly” practices in the aquarist industry. When you are purchasing marine life always ask where it is coming from, support certified aquaculture companies, and share this information with others. Help us save our coral reefs and our hobby by choosing aquacultured, maricultured, and captive-bred marine life.
Why Care About Reefs? (2014). Coral Reefs 101. Retrieved from Coral Reef Alliance at http://coral.org/coral-reefs-101/why-care-about-reefs/