Reefs at Risk.

Robert Miller bmiller at
Mon Jun 29 20:57:41 EDT 1998

In reply to Bill Precht's comments:

I have been to Belize as well as the Bahamas, and have a very hard time
believing that the reefs there are "no different" than those of the Keys.
Citing an upcoming "reef site" is not the "rigorous science" that Precht
himself cries out for.  Moreover, blaming declining water quality for
coral decline is not blind "finger pointing"- there is a mechanism -
increased algae growth in the presence of increased nutrients, and
evidence of pattern (e.g. Cuet et al. 1988).  This is not the only factor
that biologists are pointing to, either; overfishing, for instance, is
also often indicted by them as well as the environmentalists that Precht
apparently disdains (e.g., Cousteau Society).  The fact is, things are
much more likely to get done by people like them than by decades of
"teasing apart" of data that are hopelessly confounded and work
in a complex environment that isn't amenable to unequivical field
experiments. All the "musts" that he cites will unfortunately never be
understood in totality.  Don't get me wrong, obviously we must try, but
things must be done before even good understanding of some isssues is
reached.  The precautionary principal applies here.
Finally, why all the reference to big sugar?  Is it possible, Bill, that
LAW might actually work for sugar companies?  That would certainly explain
why you had Bob Graham's ear! 

Robert Miller
University of Massachusetts Boston
100 Morrissey Boulevard
Boston Massachussetts 02125

More information about the Coral-list-old mailing list