Our Waters, Our Future
The Florida Coral Reef Conservation Fund
What is Stony Coral Tissue Loss Disease?
No one knows for sure. SCTLD appears to be caused by a bacteria that first appeared near Miami in late 2014 and now spans the entire 360-mile Florida Reef Tract, reaching the Dry Tortugas in 2021. It causes 66% – 100% mortality for at least 20 of the reef’s 45 species of brain, pillar, boulder, and star corals. These stony corals are the building blocks of the reef.
Why Are Coral Reefs So Important?
Coral reefs are the rainforests of the ocean. One-fourth of all marine life depends on healthy coral reefs, including 6,000 species of Florida fish, sea turtles, dolphins, manatees, lobsters, crabs, and other animals. Healthy reefs also protect the Florida mainland from the full force of hurricanes and are critical to Florida’s recreational fishing, diving and tourism industries.
What Can Be Done?
Scientists began rescuing corals from Florida’s last disease-free waters in 2018. 2,000 stony corals representing 20 species were brought onshore and are being kept safe in aquariums in 14 states, including the Foundation’s Florida Coral Rescue Center in Orlando. These corals are being bred to increase their genetic diversity and resistance to SCTLD and other environmental stresses. Their resilient offspring will be returned to Florida’s reef by the tens of thousands.
How Can I Help?
By supporting the Florida Coral Reef Conservation Fund. We are asking Florida hotels, marinas, manufacturers, dive shops, and other businesses to add $1 to their customers’ bills, and to contribute those dollars to the Coral Fund. Or you can donate a small portion of your sales to the Fund. Our Foundation, in turn, will distribute 100% of those donations as grants to the many organizations working to restore Florida’s coral reef and maintain healthy fisheries.
Why the Fish & Wildlife Foundation of Florida?
Our Foundation has raised more than $60 million for conservation since 1994. With SeaWorld, Disney Conservation, and the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, we manage the world’s largest coral rescue center in Orlando. We are also Florida’s largest private funder of outdoor programs for youth. And we help ensure continued public access to boating, fishing, and other outdoor activities. Charity Navigator and Guidestar give us their highest ratings for transparency and programmatic efficiency.
Please Join Us!
Florida’s tourism economy and recreational fishing, boating, and diving industries depend on the health of our waters. Your participation will set you apart from the competition and give your customers the satisfaction of ensuring the places and outdoor activities they love will be there forever.