[Coral-List] Coral Reef Restoration

David Fisk davefisk at gmail.com
Sun May 18 17:09:12 EDT 2008

The pertinent point I think from David Medio's comments is that it is wrong
to think that reef restoration can be used as an excuse to allow some
developments to proceed - at all, or in a certain proposed manner. The
argument that doing something (restoration) is better than doing nothing,
usually does not stack up when it is used as an argument to accept a
proposed development strategy. With the required sensitivity and
developmental controls, some developments may result in minimal impacts, but
the cost will usually be too prohibitive to be really effective for most

The true 'point of practicality' here is that restoration should not be be
used as that offset, nor should any 'smart' engineering per se, as it's too
easy to let serious impacts to go ahead when the current knowledge base
clearly shows such 'offsets' will not deliver what it is promised. In
previous posts I have said sufficient re the use of the same technologies to
reverse larger scale disturbances including predicted climate change
effects, but I still hear of proposals claiming to do just that. For
example, a publicly available UN document dated April 2008 demonstrates how
serious this situation has progressed, and that I am not making idle
arguments. Here is a recent UN link to a UNDESA document called
"Partnerships for Sustainable Develoment" which may very well lead to
substantial funding for certain restoration projects:

In this web page the following statement is included (and note some of the
extreme statements) :
"SIDS (Small Island Developing States) fisheries, tourism industries, and
protection from rising sea levels, increased tropical storm frequency and
intensity are heavily dependent on healthy coral reefs…and these are the
most climatically threatened of all ecosystems, due to global warming. SIDS
have already lost most of their corals, and the rest are imminently
endangered by rising global temperatures, and most daunting of all,
low-lying island nations are threatened with extinction by submergence from
global sea level rise."

Further on under the heading: Additional Relevant Information - New
"New technology increases the growth rates of corals several times faster
than normal, greatly increases survival of corals under conditions of
extreme high temperature stress, and greatly increases the buildup of fish
and shellfish populations. This allows reefs to be kept alive where they
would die, and new reefs and fisheries habitat to be grown in a few years in
places where they cannot recover naturally. Because reef fisheries are
collapsing due to habitat destruction, control of fishing activities cannot
restore fisheries without large-scale habitat restoration. This restoration
process is powered using tidal, solar, and wind energy. "

As this information is in the public domain it is imperative that the coral
reef community is adequately informed of this as a means of placing this
discussion in a contemporary framework. Again, I apologize if any individual
is compromised by pointing out this trend - I am just the messenger, and am
not targeting anyone in particular. But I think it is time that the wider
coral reef community step up and insist on proper scientific review and do
not let commercial interests within the scientific community drive this
assessment of the allocation of critical development funding for SIDS in

David Fisk

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