[Coral-List] Petition for 82 corals

vassil zlatarski vzlatarski at yahoo.com
Tue Apr 6 07:25:51 EDT 2010

Dear Coral-Listers,
I read with interest the extended message of Douglas Fenner.  Doug is well known as very devoted curator of corals and reefs.  With all due respect to a friend of two decades, let me add some light in order to make the picture clearer.
1. Yes, for the preparation of the Petition to List 83 (later 82) Coral Species under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) presented by the Center for Biological Diversity (CBD) was used the paper of Carpenter and colleagues (2008), in which 39 respected specialists analyzed 845 coral species.  However, the Petition itself was written by only two CBD people, not-coral specialists and it was never openly discussed by specialists before presented to the Secretary of Commerce.
2.  On August 7, 2004  Coral-List posted "Comments Needed on Federal ESA Listing of Three Coral Species" by CBD Staff Attorney Brent Plater. That time the petition was for Acropora palmata, A. cervicornis and A. prolifera.  We do not have many Aropora in Caribbean and it was necessary urgently to enlighten the authors of that petition (posting on August 15, 2004) that they are not three species, but two species and one hybrid.  Not for the first time CBD treats corals with lack of professional knowledge.
3.  The CBD has on staff 21 lawyers, only 6 biologists, and no specialists on reefs and corals.  How to be considered the entire ecosystem and the recent reef history?  In CBD was forgotten that the only lessons for the reef evolution come from the past.
Dear Coral Friends, do you expect a team of layers acting this way to save the reefs?  Everybody in the Coral-List knows how difficult is this task and of course we have to do our best.  However, the goal requires most efficient usage of all knowledge and experience.  It is not correct to start from the lawyers offices and without any discussion with specialists to install a petition on the railway of legal procedures where proper cure is not possible.  Sorry, but these ideas that anybody can pick common chicken or dog and that everybody can make petition for ESA do not sound very appropriate.  Who is paying for all this?  We and the coral reefs.  Please, no personal attacks, no politics, no undue financial expenses, and no push for ill-founded actions.  Let face the whole truth and try what we were discussing here about the role of the scientists for the coral reefs.
Hope you will accept my respectful frankness. 
Vassil Zlatarski
D.Sc. (Biology), Ph.D. (Geology) 

131 Fales Rd., Bristol, RI 02809, USA; tel.:    

More information about the Coral-List mailing list