The Trouble with our Ocean

GJ Gast gjgast at
Fri Nov 17 17:35:42 EST 2000

>  "From an economic standpoint, I'm not sure that a
> live reef is worth much more than a dead one.  Most
> first time snorkelers...(the majority of the market)do
> not know the difference.  They see a few fish, they
> lie in the sun.  It's just another day at the beach."
> -Journalist Joel Simon, author of "Endangered Mexico:
> An Environment on the Edge" after visiting Cancun.
> Thats the problem with reef ecotourism economics--for
> those whose sole motivation for protecting reefs is
> tourism dollars, it doesn't really matter how healthy
> the reef is as long as the dollars keep coming. 
> Solutions anyone?
> Peter Burnside

I was at Das Boot (The Boat) in Germany in January this year. Das Boot is 
an enormous sort of fair with everything on watersports. One large hall 
contains only stands of related to diving (gear producers, diving centres, 
travel agents, etc.) and it is completely packed with divers for 10 days. Many 
divers go especially to this place to decide where they will go for their next 
diving holiday. I hung around in the stand of the Netherlands Antilles for a few 
hours and listened to conversations. The one question that stood out above 
all was: has there been bleaching at those islands? Almost every diver in 
Germany and surrounding countries knows about bleaching and will choose 
his/her holiday destination accordingly (elsewhere). These people know what 
they want (good reefs) and they make sure they get it (no bleached reefs) 
when they spend their vacation money (with every year 14,000,000 million 
people going on a diving vacantion: a lot of dollars). Moreover, these people 
don't go once, they go at least once a year for decades. I am not an 
economist, but I would think these numbers do matter to countries with coral 

My 2 cents (unfortunately getting less every day in EURO-land), GJ.
Dr. Gert Jan Gast
Oostelijke Handelskade 31
1019BL Amsterdam, the Netherlands.
Phone int 31 (0)20 4198607
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