[Coral-List] Jennifer Moore's comment on coral ESA listing

DeeVon Quirolo deevon at bellsouth.net
Wed May 24 13:07:59 EDT 2006

   Hi  Jennifer:   In  reviewing the materials published on this phase of
   the  public comment period for the Acropora and Cervicornis listing, I
   note  the  comment  that  appeared  twice:  "The  major threats to the
   species'  persistence  (i.e.  disease,  elevated  sea temperatures and
   hurricanes)  are  severe,  un-predictable,  likely  to increase in the
   foreseeable future, and, at current levels of knowledge, unmanageable.
   (emphasis added).
   The fact is, the cause of many coral diseases have been discovered and
   are  entirely avoidable through good management of coral reefs.  White
   pox  disease,   which  is  responsible  for  decimating large areas of
   acropora  in  the  Florida Keys, has been linked to elevated levels of
   serratia  marcescens,  a  bacteria  commonly  found in sewage.  If the
   precautionary  approach  were implemented with respect to coral reefs,
   the   improvement  in  their  habitat  and  overall  health  would  be
   measurable.   The  increased  incidence  of sponge boring on corals is
   linked   to  an  over-abundance  of  nutrients.   Therefore,  nutrient
   sources,  such as sewage and agricultural runoff, should be eliminated
   as  much  as possible near coral reefs.  Upgrading sewage treatment to
   advanced  nutrient-stripping  levels  and eliminating agricultural and
   stormwater runoff--especially from the Everglades into Florida Bay and
   the  downstream  coral  reefs of the Florida Keys--would go a long way
   toward reducing the virulent spread of disease on acropora in the Keys
   and  at  other reefs in South Florida, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin
   Elevated  sea temperatures can be reduced through implementation of an
   energy  policy in the U.S. that reduces our dependance on fossil fuels
   and  encourages  the  use  of  ethanol,  bio-diesel,  solar  and other
   renewable  and fuel efficient lifestyles.  Conservation, if encouraged
   by  this  administration,  would  have  huge  positive consequences by
   reducing   harmful   emissions  that  are  impacting  coral  reefs  by
   exacerbating elevating sea temperatures.
   While  hurricanes  are  natural  events, it has been shown that corals
   that  are  already  compromised  by  heavy use, poor water quality and
   increase  sea  temperatures  are  less  able to withstand the brunt of
   storm  surge.   If  efforts were undertaken to insure that coral reefs
   enjoy  the clear, clean, nutrient-free waters they need to survive and
   thrive, they would be more able to resist hurricane damage.
   To  make  such  a statement denies a critically-needed opportunity for
   this  effort--to  list  corals  onto  the Endangered Species List---to
   produce  any measurable results.  With this in mind,  I encourage NOAA
   Fisheries  to  admit  the  obvious:  that  there are many ways you can
   manage  disease  and  elevated sea surface temperatures and reduce the
   damage done by hurricanes to coral reefs.
   DeeVon Quirolo, Executive Director, REEF RELIEF

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