[Coral-List] Artificial Reefs and Corporate Bodies and Reef

Sebastian Ferse sferse at aol.com
Sun Sep 20 16:21:22 EDT 2009

Dear Gene and Quenton!

Apparently one simply needs to mention the term 'big companies' to be
labeled 'anti-capitalist'. My point, which apparently was not well-stated,
was not that companies should have no role in reef restoration efforts
whatsoever. I agree that there are several cases where restoration, or even
education or awareness-raising, would not have been possible without the
involvement of industry, and I also agree that the science community is not
well-served with a "holier than thou" attitude (I think no one is). 

I don't want to go into a discussion of the Gulf oilrigs as I cannot claim
to know enough on the topic, but I think that Gene's point of a cessation of
shrimp trawling due to the structures and Paul Sammarco's authorative
comments regarding the fish communities on the rigs are right on.

That being said, my original cautioning is more along the lines of Eric's
comment. I have made similar experiences in Indonesia; cases where
simplistic solutions to complex problems are being sought (more referring to
coral transplantation than to artificial reefs). I am afraid that without
putting sufficient thought into what action to take, efforts may be
counterproductive and a wrong message may be conveyed to the wider public. 

So, should there be a role for companies/industry to play in environmental
conservation and restoration? Absolutely, but the underlying science needs
to be understood, and proper guidance probably is necessary in most cases.
The PVC reefs in Bart's article were a point to my case. This is where the
scientific community might have to be more pro-active yet. Quenton's
argument that 'Industry can bring tremendous resources to the effort,
intellectual and financial' is correct, but I would maintain that
restoration efforts should not be left to industry alone. 

Both sides need to be open to collaboration. If industry is looking for ways
to contribute their resources, they should be supported, not shunned. But
scientific, possibly differing, views and advice on how best to proceed
should be heeded, not dismissed or left out for the sake of simplicity..
While I agree that it is important not to refuse well-meant and genuine
offers of help, it is also necessary to look beyond verbose and well-phrased
declarations of intent and see in each case whether the proposed plan of
action matches the ecological imperatives.

Best regards

Sebastian Ferse

Dr. Sebastian Ferse

Leibniz Zentrum für Marine Tropenökologie (ZMT)
Leibniz Center for Tropical Marine Ecology
Fahrenheitstrasse 6
D-28359 Bremen

Phone: +49-421-238 00 28
Fax: +49-421-238 00 30
Mobile: +49-1577-237 9259
e-mail: sebastian.ferse at zmt-bremen.de

-----Original Message-----

Date: Thu, 17 Sep 2009 15:47:18 -0400
From: Eugene Shinn <eshinn at marine.usf.edu>
Subject: [Coral-List] Artificial Reefs and Corporate Bodies and Reef
To: coral-list at coral.aoml.noaa.gov
Message-ID: <a0623092cc6d8092004e5@[]>
Content-Type: text/plain; charset="us-ascii" ; format="flowed"

      Bart's question stimulated a lot of anti capitalistic rhetoric. 
So big business should not be involved with artificial reefs?  Do you 
suppose Panasonic plans to make artificial reefs from discarded TV 
sets? Seriously, some big-business-inspired super-effective long- 
lasting artificial reefs already exist. Some were planted off Ft. 
Lauderdale, Florida more than 25 years ago.  Bob Wicklund and I 
described them  in a paper in 1989, (Shinn, E.A., Wicklund, R., 1989 
Observations on deep water artificial fishing reefs from Research 
Submersible, Bull Mar Sci. V, 44 (2) p. 1041-1050.). What were they? 
Obsolete oil rigs brought at great expense all the way from the Gulf 
of Mexico by Tenneco Oil Company. For some reason they did not 
generate a lot of publicity but then the coral-list did not exist 
yet.  Must say we observed  plenty of divers and fish on them when we 
conducted our study. As near as we could tell the fish and encrusting 
organisms did not seem to realize they were not true coral reefs.
No, they were not intended to stimulate coral growth but the coral 
species that incrusted them and the fish they harbored seemed happy. 
Ok somebody say it just made it easier for divers to spear fish. I 
won't  deny that. One, however, was placed at a depth too deep for 
     Now there are about 4,000 of them in the northern Gulf of Mexico 
in various depths of water and they are loaded with fish from the 
surface to the bottom. They did not cost the tax payers anything. 
They were not put there to mimic coral reefs and reefs do not grow 
over most of that area anyway. Nevertheless, they host more reef fish 
per unit area than any true coral reef I have ever seen.  It has even 
been proposed that they be incorporated as  marine sanctuaries 
because in addition to being fish havens they also preserve shrimp 
and by catch. Shrimper's don't go there anymore because of the rigs 
and pipelines.  Gene


No Rocks, No Water, No Ecosystem (EAS)
------------------------------------ -----------------------------------
E. A. Shinn, Courtesy Professor
University of South Florida
Marine Science Center (room 204)
140 Seventh Avenue South
St. Petersburg, FL 33701
<eshinn at marine.usf.edu>
Tel 727 553-1158---------------------------------- 

More information about the Coral-List mailing list