The Trouble with our Ocean
FSP Fiji - Suva Office
fspsuva at is.com.fj
Mon Nov 20 18:34:30 EST 2000
> "From an economic standpoint, I'm not sure that a
>live reef is worth much more than a dead one.
A reality check from the Pacific Islands:
The fact is that most reefs of the planet never experience tourism of any
sort, nor do they have clouds of green water or mud covering them. What
most reefs do experience is subsistence fishing pressure, and a fair number
of reefs also experience commercial fishing by local people with boats and
access to local markets.
In my opinion, the greatest economic contribution of reefs to the planet is
that reefs feed and provide for families... reefs keep societies alive.
From this perspective, overfishing/destructive fishing by reef-dependent
communities is a far greater immediate threat to the health of reefs than
any other factor. If fishing communities are the primary threat to coral
reefs, and as these communities own/control most (70%+?) of the reefs on
this planet, shouldn't more effort be made to empower this group that hold
the future of reefs in their hands?
The emphasis on climate change, bleaching, and the like tend to steal the
show. These issues may attract funding and interset the scientific
community, but they are much less practical than focusing on empowering
communities to manage their own resources. Could saving reefs be more of a
exercise in cultural understanding and respect for the intellegence of
rural fishing communities than a research driven one?
>From where I live and work, it appears that a lack of global vision and
educational prejudice on the part of the scientific community are as much a
problem as any physical threat.
Coral Gardens Initiative
Foundation for the Peoples of the South Pacific
The US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)
sponsors coral-list and the Coral Health and Monitoring Program
(CHAMP, http://www.coral.noaa.gov). Please visit the Web site
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