[Coral-List] MPAs

James M. Cervino cnidaria at earthlink.net
Tue Mar 14 10:33:00 EST 2006

Thanks Doug and Les for your comments,

This is just an example of no matter how many MPAs are placed in the 
tropics global warming and abnormal SSTs will continue destroy the 
skin residing on the surfaces of coral skeletons.  I recently went to 
a presentation in the Bahamas (Abacos) focusing on the implementation 
of an MPA.  We found it shocking that this plan never addressed the 
protection of the component of the habitat that houses the fishes in 
the MPA plan; the corals.   The corals will not be protected; it's as 
simple as that.  Never once during this 2hr presentation did we see 
any safeguards to protect the reef from nutrient pollution and 
dredging as a result of a newly designed golf course that will reside 
very close to the MPA.   So, forget about global warming, we cannot 
even step up to the plate and fight local developers let alone the 
controlling the new energy policy put together by the Cheney 
administration regarding the control of heat trapping emissions. 

Look what MPAs have done for the GBR: 


Good point, James.
     Several people have pointed out that an MPA can only control what people do
in the MPA, they can't control global warming, and only a reserve that included
the entire watershed or catchment could have any way to control the 
sediment and
nutrients that come into the MPA.  An MPA is a marvelous tool, but if 
the public, or reef workers think it solves all the problems, we are 
in deeper trouble
than we realize.  Bleaching can easily kill all the coral in the 
finest MPA, I bet
it did that in 1998 in several places.
     Same goes for resilience, which is another great tool.  But if 
politicians think
that resilience programs will take care of reefs even if we have 
bleaching, well,
we can kiss our reefs goodby.  The fastest recovering reefs in the 
world will take
a minimum of 5 years to have good coral cover after mass death from bleaching. 
Some will take 10 years, I bet most will take more.  But the best 
predictions are
that it won't be too long before we have annual summer bleaching, and 
then annual
mass deaths.  No coral reef can recover in one year, none.  Even if 
reefs had 10
years, they will be missing the old corals, the huge massive Porites, 
and a bunch
of others.  The reefs would be greatly altered.  But we are unlikely 
to have that
luxury, most likely most all will be dead.  We can't afford to let 
anyone, politicians
or otherwise, use resiliency programs as an excuse to let greenhouse 
gas emissions
continue unabated.
      I'm not saying that I've heard people use that as an excuse, I 
just think we'd
better be ready to not let anyone get away with it.
      It is likely that corals and zooxanthellae can do some adapting. 
How fast,
we don't know.  Good chance not fast enough.  Is that a risk we're 
willing to take?
Even if a few corals can adapt fast enough, the reefs will be 
radically altered,
leaving them open for all kinds of unforeseen problems.  Its a risk 
we can't afford
to take.
      The average Frenchman produces a third the greenhouse gases that Americans
and Australians produce (on a per capita basis).  France is a 
developed country.
I think that shows we can reduce greenhouse gas production radically, 
without destroying
our economies.  The average Chinese produces one sixth the greenhouse gases the
average American produces.  Do we have the right to tell them that 
no, they can't
produce as much greenhouse gases as we do, they can't develop, they 
must stay in
poverty, so we can keep the total greenhouse gas production down 
while Americans
waste energy in SUV's and produce six times as much?  I think not. 
Americans have
to reduce greenhouse gas production drastically, and China (and 
India) have to figure
out how to develop without producing as much as the states.  I suspect we could
do it if we wanted to and put our minds to it.    -Doug

Dr. James M. Cervino, MS, Ph.D.
Marine Pathology
Department of Biological & Health Sciences
Pace University New York NYC
Phone: (917) 620-5287
Web site: http://www.globalcoral.org

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