Last week, I spoke with Joe Simonds, co-founder of Salt Strong, to discuss all things 3D technology and coral reefs.
To listen, click the link below, head to the Salt Strong website, or open the Salt Strong Podcast in your iTunes store.
Joe and I met back in 2017 during a Florida Outdoor Writers Association conference where we were both presenting. Him and his brother, Luke Simonds, created Salt Strong as a resource for saltwater fishing enthusiasts. They feature tips and tricks for catching fish, but enjoy featuring non-fishermen on their site and podcast.
In the podcast, Joe and I discuss coral reefs, 3D technology in reef research, and tips for reef-friendly boating.
Many people don't realize that coral are animals. Coral are ecosystem engineers that build complex structures; regulating environmental processes, and providing habitat for other reef creatures. Just like other living animals, coral are susceptible to illness and disease. Chemical, environmental, and physical damage can cause declining coral health and even death.
This can have cascading effects on the rest of the ecosystem- and ecosystem many people around the world depend on both directly and indirectly for food, livelihood, coastal security, recreation, and pharmaceuticals, or other products. While researchers are exploring methods to restore coral reef ecosystems, through coral transplanting and other mechanisms, other people can do their part to reduce adverse threats to coral reefs.
One of the most important, and often overlooked ocean-friendly tips mentioned on the podcast is using reef-safe sunscreen. Most sunscreens use chemicals to block the sun's harmful rays, which end up washing and sweating off our bodies, polluting the ocean. Oxybenzone, a chemical found in over 3,500 sunscreens, is linked to coral bleaching and coral death.
Another easily ignored source of pollution mentioned on the podcast is plastic straws. Over 500,000 plastic straws are used around the United States every day. These small pieces of plastic are frequently missed in sorted recycling and easily make their way into the ocean- making them one of the top 10 most common sources of ocean pollution.
Straws and other plastics harm marine life, who mistakenly ingest the pollution. A large percentage of the world's fish stocks suffer from plastic and micro-plastic ingestion, which can lead to death or illness.
Although straws aren't the only source of plastic pollution, they are an easily preventable source. #StopSucking when you #SkipTheStraw. Next time you are at a restaurant, ask for your beverage without a plastic straw. This is a simple action you can take today to reduce marine pollution.
Here are some infographics for more information on marine plastics, pollution, and solutions.