I was invited as media to cover this event. All opinions are my own.
Saving Our Reefs: Rising Tide Conservation
Over the weekend my family and I had the amazing opportunity to visit Discovery Cove and SeaWorld to learn about Rising Tide Conservation. This program focuses on the protection of our coral reefs through sustainable aquaculture. At this time up to 90 percent of saltwater aquarium fish are wild caught, so only 10 percent would be considered sustainable aquaculture.
Rising Tide Conservation is teaming up with over 48 facilities, which include public aquaria, research universities, marine fish producers, and aquarium wholesalers and retailers to get the word out about increasing the amount of captive-breed marine aquarium fish. This initiative is trying to discover methods to captive-breed saltwater aquarium fish to help reduce the need to take these amazing aquatic species away from the reefs. Through this initiative Rising Tide Conservation has successfully reared over 16 species of marine aquarium fish including: yellow tang, jackknife fish, porkfish, lancer dragonet, silver moony, and semicircle angelfish. By purchasing captive-breed aquatic fish rather than fish that are taken from the coral reef, we as consumers can help limit the negative impact on our coral reefs.
SeaWorld Entertainment is one of the partnering companies with Rising Tide Conservation. We had the amazing privilege to meet Denise Swider, the assistant curator of SeaWorld’s Discovery Cove. She talked about Rising Tide Conservation and how they are collecting the eggs of the fish from their massive 2.5 acre salt water Grand Reef to donate to labs researching ways to breed saltwater fish. This reef houses approximately 125 different species and the boys and I had the privilege of introducing some new fish to the reef and then had an amazing time helping collect the eggs, while enjoying the Grand Reef itself.
My favorite part was snorkeling the Grand Reef and watching the huge southern sting rays swim under me. My son’s favorite part was finding “Dori’s” among the manmade coral. Snorkeling the Grand Reef at Discovery Cove really makes you appreciate the importance of taking care of our reefs throughout the world. Here are some ways that we can help preserve our reefs and support Rising Tide Conservation.
Here are just a few ways that you can take action with SeaWorld:
- Visit your local accredited zoo or aquarium. Not only are they involved in important conservation work, but your visit helps ensure that work continues, and inspire your family to care for animals and our planet. Association of Zoos & Aquariums-accredited facility also participate in the Saving Animals from Extinction (SAFE) program. Learn more about AZA SAFE here.
- Support conservation programs like Rising Tide, which are committed to protecting tropical fish and coral reefs. Plus, share information about reef fish population and the environmental challenges these animals and the coral reefs face with your friends and family, as well as local tropical fish groups.
- If you are looking to start a home aquarium, remember a few tips:
- Research the fish you are interested in caring for and how they interact with other fish.
- Opt for an aquacultured fish first, instead of one collected from the reefs.
- Saltwater aquariums can be tricky for beginners, so consider a freshwater aquarium instead.
- For the well-being of your fish and other wildlife and their habitats, never release fish into the wild.
- Buy sustainably-sourced seafood from your local retailers. Remember to ask them: “Do you sell sustainable seafood?” Let businesses know this is important to you. You can find additional tips from the Monterey Bay Aquarium here.
- Take part in activities like Discovery Cove’s SeaVenture program – guests who participate in the SeaVenture program at Discovery Cove also directly help support Rising Tide Conservation, as the park donates five percent of every program purchased.
- You and your kids can join the SeaWorld myActions team. The myActions platform is an innovative social network that offers you the opportunity to share the actions you take to protect the environment on a daily basis while inspiring and challenging your friends and family to do the same.
Rising Tide Conservation will continue to support breakthrough marine aquaculture efforts and SeaWorld is working behind the scenes providing funding for research; fish, larvae, and eggs for aquaculture labs; expertise based on decades of success in fish breeding and rearing; and ensuring that both successes and roadblocks are shared among all the groups participating in Rising Tide Conservation.
Considering a visit to Orlando? Don’t miss this hidden gem in the busy city. Read our full review of Discovery Cove here!