The Reef Ball Foundation
is a 501(c) 3 publicly supported non-profit and international environmental NGO working to rehabilitate marine reefs. Our mission is to rehabilitate our world's ocean reef ecosystems and to protect our natural reef systems using Reef Ball designed reef technologies.
We have placed well over 1/2 million Reef Balls™ and conducted over 6,000 projects in 62+ countries with a global reach of 70+ countries. Our projects include designed artificial reefs, ground-breaking coral propagation and planting systems, estuary restoration, red mangrove plantings, oyster reef restoration, erosion control, and expert collaboration on a variety of oceanic issues. We work with governments, other NGOs, businesses, schools, research institutes, private individuals and community organizations and emphasize education on preserving and protecting our natural reefs.
For more detail and featured projects see our Impact page.
Search and follow
Reef Ball Foundation projects
all around the globe with the interactive
World Mapping System.
Many projects are annotated with additional
information, photographs and links for further study.
why we do what we do about reef ball
why is the ocean important? about reef ball
The ocean covers 71% of the Earth's surface, contains 97% of the planet's water and no matter where you live we rely on the ocean for the air we breath. Ocean plants produce half of the world's oxygen and ocean waters absorb almost one-third of human-caused carbon dioxide emissions. The oceans also regulate the weather and form the clouds that bring us fresh water.
The value of our oceans impacts us through fisheries, coastal protection, jobs, tourism, food, transportation, medicine, our economy and just by their existence.
why are coral reefs important?
Coral reefs, often called the rainforests of the ocean, are the largest living structures on Earth. Coral reefs can be found around the world, bordering over 100 nations and cold water reefs are found deep in the Mediterranean and North Sea. Coral reefs are key to keeping the oceans healthy in addition to the economic value they provide to nearby communities and the world. Approximately 850 million people live within 100 km of and derive some benefits from coral reefs. Recent studies indicate the value of reefs in economic services - jobs, tourism, etc., to be $375 billion US per year.
© Hugo Ahlenius, UNEP/GRID-Arendal
here's how their value impacts us:
Fisheries: Fishing is perhaps the most direct form of human dependence on coral reefs and the fish that live on coral reefs provide a significant food source for over a billion people. Coral reefs and the connected ecosystems such as mangroves, seagrass and oyster reefs also provide important nurseries, food, and shelter for many economically valuable species which migrate to the oceans when mature.
Healthy coral reefs can yield 15 tons of fish and other seafood per square kilometer and commercial and recreational fishing derived from coral reefs accounts for billions of dollars per year worldwide. The (responsible) aquarium trade reaps millions more from reef fish and invertebrates.
Coastal Protection: Over 150,000 km of shoreline receive protection from violent ocean events by coral reefs. Healthy coral reefs buffer wave energy, acting as natural barriers protecting coastlines, inhabited areas and lives. Areas with healthier reefs have suffered less loss of life, property and economic damage in storms. Read more here.
Biodiversity: Like the rainforests, coral reefs one of the most diverse ecosystems on the planet. They support 25% of all marine life while covering less than 1 percent of the ocean floor. These biologically rich ecosystems are estimated to support around 4,000 species of fish, 800 species of reef-building corals and thousands of other species of invertebrates. See this Stanford University microdoc on coral reef biodiversity.
Food and Jobs: Over 500 million people have some level of reliance on reefs for food directly or through fishing or other use of reef resources. 275 million depend directly on reefs for livelihoods and sustenance while 30 million people are virtually totally dependent on coral reefs not just for food and jobs but for the very land they live on. The tourism industry alone generates billions of dollars - and millions of jobs directly related to coral reefs - with this being the largest contributor overall but particularly to coral-based economies - more than the value of fishing and coastal protection.
Medicine: As biodiversity reservoirs coral reefs offer the promise of "bioprospecting" for cures for a variety of diseases with compounds - discovered and yet to be discovered - found among their great plant and animal biodiversity. Compounds derived from species found in reefs are used in the treatment of leukemia, ulcers, cardiovascular diseases, bacterial infections, viruses, skin cancer, and more while coral itself has been used for skin grafting materials. Read more here.
The increased human pressures on our ocean and reef systems is putting a tremendous strain on the health of coral reefs. Threats include over-fishing, destructive fishing practices like bottom trawling and dynamite fishing, careless tourism, pollution, garbage, sedimentation, coral mining, climate change and ocean acidification.
here's how we help.