[Coral-List] Could Restricting Access to Reefs Be Counterproductive?

Selena Medrano selena.medrano at gmail.com
Thu Mar 23 21:04:21 EST 2006

I must say that I agree with Alex.  Coral reefs are not the "charismatic
macrofauna" that dolphins, tigers, and wolves are.  Unless we show people
their magnificence, how will they know?   People have no reason to care
about these things in the ocean unless those of us who know something about
coral reefs share our knowledge.  I think the goal should be to take your
friends on a reef vacation to teach them about reefs.  Begin by explaining
why your friends must not touch the coral.  Describe how long it takes a
colony to grow, why reefs are important to the ecosystem, and explain that
corals are sensitive to temperature changes and nutrients.  Take a slate and
pencil on a dive or snorkel trip and point to and identify critters that
live in/on/around the reef.  Maybe this will get more people excited about
and behind our goals of conservation and protection of the reefs.  While
some reefs may need restricted access to improve local infrastructures or to
protect seed banks, restricting visitor access to all reefs would greatly
hinder the learning process.   There are responsible dive shops in the Keys
and around the globe; a little research on the vacationers' part will cover
that issue.  As always, set an example.

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