[Coral-List] Reef Ball Costs?

Gregor Hodgson gregorh at ucla.edu
Sun Feb 29 21:23:07 EST 2004

Some readers might be interested to know how much this artifical reef cost,
who paid for it, and how the funds were allocated. Also of interest would be
the percentage of Antigua reefs that were "restored." Some readers may also
like to learn more about the relationship between the Reef Ball Development
Group Ltd., a for-profit company www.reefball.com and Reef Ball foundation

Readers who have personally viewed a living coral reef or even photos,
should carefully consider the aesthetics of this "spectacular success" by
examining especially the second picture in the "Total Reef Restoration Page"
at http://www.reefball.com/map/antiguascience/antiguapressrelease.htm Note
that this "success" may be due to "special marine friendly formulations
needed to create a perfect biological reef." (Quotes from Reef Ball.com)

According to Reef Ball.com, "Over 500,000 Reef Balls have been deployed in
over 3,500 projects worldwide making Reef Balls the most widely used
designed artificial reef in the world. Reef Balls are used primarily to
restore ailing coral reefs and to create new sites for scuba diving or
fishing and for many other uses such as beach protection, mitigation, fresh
water, education, and for creating all types of aquatic reef systems."

Artificial reefs are a wonderful tool when used in the appropriate location
and for the appropriate goal. I am sure that when e.g. beach protection or
fish habitat are the goals, Reef Balls do a wonderful job.

The reason I am trying to raise awareness about this issue is that coral
reef conservation funding is scarce. Politicians would like a quick fix,
hence ARs are attractive. Sometimes AR construction may divert funding away
from more fundamental conservation activities that would allow reefs to
recover naturally. Some politicians will actually cut conservation funding
following AR construction because they believe, "It doesn't matter if we
damage our reefs, we can always build more." This is a real quote from a
politician in the Philippines.

Aesthetics are an issue. If a forest of redwood trees is cut down and
replaced with concrete structures, how would we feel? I hope that we can do
better than this with reef rehab.

Gregor Hodgson, PhD
Executive Director, Reef Check
Professor (visiting)
Institute of the Environment
1362 Hershey Hall Box 951496
University of California at Los Angeles
Los Angeles, CA 90095-1496
Tel: 310-794-4985 Fax: 310-825-0758

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