[Coral-List] Coral reefs importance brainstorm

Andy Collins Andy.Collins at noaa.gov
Mon Aug 18 05:36:57 EDT 2003

Thank you Andrew for bringing up this point, and to all the others who 
have provided excellent resources on the economic value of healthy 
reefs, and other information.  I do certainly agree that management 
decisions based solely on the factor of economic value are ridiculuos 
and will most certainly lead to resource depletion and destruction 
through one path or another.  Lets face it, there are fisherpeople out 
there who fish sustainably, and there are eco-tourist divers who cause 
destruction with their fins.  It is the cumulative impact of all forms 
of use and extraction, non-point source impacts such as marine debris 
and global temperature change, and a whole host of site specific 
degrading factors that are causing, or have caused the demise of coral 

In order to connect an individual's behavior to the damage being done 
the critical connections need to be made, and in order to do this people 
need to see how they are connected to the reef.  I wanted info on 
commercially valuable pelagic species connection to coral reef 
ecosystems because many people eat tuna, or billfish and if they can see 
that that dying coral reef ecosystems mean less tuna, or higher price 
tuna, then they can relate.  As an educator and outreach person I often 
stuggle to match a particular connection to a particular person.  I 
believe that the connections are there, often several degrees seperated, 
but there none-the-less and these types of personal connections make the 
most powerful arguments concerning conservation.

I can tell you that the typical weekend Hawaiian fisherman couldn't care 
less about divers bringing in revenue to the State if their fishing 
grounds get shut down, and the diver may not care about the fisherman's 
concern.  In the end we are all going to have to change our behavior and 
values, and make sacrifices.  Acknowledging responsibilty is the first 
step, then taking action.  The more creative I can get about helping the 
first step along, the better.

~Andy Collins

Finlay, Andrew wrote:

> Is it really ethical to equate a monetary value on natural resources such as
> coral reefs, water, or air?
> i.e. (example only not real figures) that a humphead wrasse is worth US$5000
> in tourism revenue (over a 5 period) as scuba divers are willing to pay x
> amount of dollars to come and see these increasingly rare species.
> Unfortunately we have come to the stage when we may have to say 'yes' - it
> maybe now the only way forward for conservation.
> Government decision makers will never prioritise the environment, (i.e.
> ahead of public services), until they are made aware of just how much
> revenue natural resources bring in for their country.
> i.e. The Economic Value of the Coral Reefs of Hawaii (Cesar 2000/1) or 
> The Economic Value of the Coral Reefs of Egypt - same author in print
> Whilst it may not be ideal or ethical to say a certain coral reef is worth x
> amount of dollars - it may be the only way to get politicians to wake up.
> Fin
> R. Andrew O. Finlay 
> Environmental Consultant
> Atkins Water
> Woodcote Grove
> Ashley Road
> Epsom, Surrey KT18 5BW
> Tel: +44 (0)1372 754260
> Fax: +44 (0)1372 754331
> Email: Andrew.Finlay at atkinsglobal.com
> Web: www.atkinsglobal.com/water
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Andy Collins
Program Specialist/Webmaster
NOAA/NOS Northwestern Hawaiian Islands
Coral Reef Ecosystem Reserve
6700 Kalaniana'ole Hwy. # 215
Honolulu, HI 96825
Ph: (808)397-2659
Mobile: (808)347-8144
Fx: (808)397-2662

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