[Coral-List] Reefs of horror / reefs of hope

Sarah Frias-Torres sfrias_torres at hotmail.com
Tue May 20 11:08:35 EDT 2008

Dear Coral-listers, 
Coral reefs are seen and used as a commodity, not as a resource worth protecting. The coral reefs and its inhabitants are killed, displaced, sold as souvenirs, silted, polluted, stepped on, their entrails removed, blasted off.. . and don’t’ get me started with global warming. 
We know what causes degradation and destruction of coral reefs and their inhabitants. We also know that coral reef “restoration” does not bring a degraded or destroyed coral reef back to its pristine condition. And with less than 1 % of the ocean protected in the form of some sort of sanctuary (and much less of that is coral reef sanctuary), there is little hope for a future.
Talking and doing some outreach about the amazing biodiversity in coral reefs, the resources and benefits they provide, the need to conserve Nemo’s home and so on is simply not enough. It is essential that we continue our current research efforts to understand the ecology of coral reefs, and current conservation and outreach, but we need to do so more diligently, wisely, and with a punch. 
Whether it is greed or ignorance, the world at large simply is not getting the message. We can sit and complain about it, and share our reefs of horror stories (as Tom Williams names them) or we can do something about it.
So to all coral-listers, please, take some time today out of your busy schedule, and think carefully what action are you going to take. Think big, think tiny, local or globally, don’t be afraid to write down what you think you can accomplish yourself or with the help of others.  Make a plan, make a shopping list of action items, with a specific timeline (the next 3-6 months, or by next year) and then take action. Stand up and be counted. 
Then, we can either use coral list or the upcoming ICRS, and post our action items on some board at the poster sessions, or brainstorm some more during the receptions or at the closing banquet. We can end up with a true plan for action, and then, do it.

Sarah Frias-Torres, Ph.D. 
Marine Conservaton Scientist
Ocean Research and Conservation Association, Florida, USA

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