Living in a Coastal Community

Some animals like manta rays and whale sharks are filter feeders. This means they swim with their mouths open to collect small bits of food. They can easily suck up trash while they are swimming. If they end up eating too much trash, they can fill up their stomachs leaving no room for actual food. Things like plastic are really bad for animals to eat because they contain a lot of chemicals. When an animal eats plastic the chemicals can poison the animal over time as the plastic sits in their stomach. If a fisherman catches a fish that has been eating plastic and then eats that fish, they are eating all those harmful plastic chemicals the fish had. Fish is a large part of the diet of people in Tofo, so lots of people eat fish that might contain dangerous chemicals. 

How have people been adapting to this environment?:

The fishermen in Tofo are actively involved in ocean conservation measures. They understand how important having a healthy ocean is for them to continue to be able to fish, and for tourists to continue to visit the town. Fishermen in Tofo follow the local fishing laws and even help organize reef closures. "Closing" a reef means the fishermen agree not to fish there anymore, and the dive centers in the area do not go diving at that reef anymore. A closed reef can rest and get healthier without the stress of humans interfering (like fishing). Recently the fishermen and dive centers closed Clown Fish Reef after the fishermen reported they were not catching fish there anymore, and the divers said the corals looked unhealthy. Together they agreed to close the reef for 6 months.