[Coral-List] Economic Valuation and market based conservation

Douglas Fenner douglasfenner at yahoo.com
Wed Aug 17 16:04:53 EDT 2011

      I agree that economics is a tool that can be useful, but isn't everything.  Nobody said it was.  My parents used to refer to some people as "knowing the price of everything and the value of nothing."  Some things don't lend themselves easily to putting a dollar value on them.  On the other hand, modern economics is now able to start studying non-use values, how much people value the existence of something they do not exploit..  Because there are so many people who aren't using the resource, that can actually be greater than the use value.  That itself can highlight the value of not exploiting everything completely.

     More broadly, it is often said that we can't directly manage coral reefs, all we can do is manage people who are affecting coral reefs.  (Reef rehabilitation is an exception, but it is a tiny tiny reef area that is feasible to be rehabilitated.)  If we must manage people, we can suddenly see that social science is not some irrelevant luxury, but a very valuable tool, maybe even should be center stage in management efforts.  It is not just reef ecology that we need, but a lot of other things, particularly social science, but also natural history, biology, geology, etc.  Another point: while we need social science to better understand people and how they make decisions, and how to influence people in a positive way, it isn't everything.  For example, you don't have to be an expert political scientist to serve in the highest political offices.  A very successful politician has to have skills that the political scientist may understand, but
 not have themselves.  Many businessmen are likely not expert economists, and vice versa, though a large business would do well to have people that understand economics.  The point is, coral reef managers must have social skills, and social science will provide them with tools, but they themselves don't have to be social scientists.  If all we have are social scientists, we'll have a lot of surveys, but we will have no good coral reef management.  Managers have to be doers, not just researchers.  And coral reefs desperately need action, not just study.  We need social science, but we need good managers too.

     I completely
 agree that economics can provide incentives to destroy reefs instead of to conserve them, and I don't think anyone should have blind faith that economics or the value of reefs will save reefs.  For example, some big hotel for tourists may find that their profit margin is improved by dynamiting a boat channel through a reef, or to release untreated
 sewage on the reef, or to buy fresh reef fish from local fishers even though the reef is heavily overfished.  Hector is quite right about a lot of tourist hotels and operations in the Caribbean.  Particularly obvious are the big, expensive all-inclusive hotels where the guests from developed countries paid for their vacation package directly to the company
 in the developed country that represents the owners in the developed country.  The money was paid before the trip and never came to where the resort is actually located.  The tourists then go to the resort and lie on the beach and play in the tennis courts and eat the fancy imported food, and never even venture outside the fence that surrounds the property to keep the local poor people out.  Jamaica deliberately went this route, encouraging outside investment in high-priced resorts, probably thinking that would be more money for Jamaica.  Wrong.  The income disparity was so great when I was there around the time of Hurricane Allen (early 1980's) that maids were said to be required by the hotels to pay the hotels for the opportunity to work in the hotel and receive tips!!  Illegal, but it happened, and clearly exploitation.  But it is hard sometimes for developing countries to build these hotels themselves, since they don't have the money and they
 can struggle to have the expertise to produce the quality that the tourists are willing to pay

     There is a lot of pressure for this kind of tourism I would think, poor countries with little to invest, big wealthy foreign investors pushing to get permission to build resorts, promising things they may not deliver.  But there are places that have resisted.  I used to go to Cozumel, Mexico, went there so many times I lost count.  Cozumel was said to be one of the three largest foreign exchange earners in Mexico, namely Acapulco, Cancun, and Cozumel.  Cozumel was built on diving, back then it was said to have 50 dive shops.  I knew of just one that was owned by an American, since passed away.  Cruise ships also stopped frequently, but I doubt they spent as much money as the divers, since the passengers didn't stay in hotels, pay for diving, or eat in the restaurants.  There was no evidence I saw of foreign ownership of the larger hotels, none were American chains, no Holiday Inn, Hilton, Sheridan, etc.  The people in the dive shops were
 Mexican, the dive instructors were Mexican, the dive masters were Mexican, and back in those days the dive boats were converted local fishing boats, owned and run by Mexicans.  Big money, and it appeared to all be going to Mexican businesses.  I chose to stay in very small inexpensive places as I did elsewhere in the Caribbean, partly because I was paying my own way, but also to get a chance to meet residents and experience more local culture, and I had a ball.  Granted most tourists don't do that, but there were certainly some.  My impression was that the fishers that owned the dive boats in Cozumel  found they could make a lot more money taking tourists out on their boats than fishing.  (Mind you I haven't been to Cozumel for nearly a couple decades, and I am not an expert on who owns what there, and new, expensive, fancy dive boats were starting to be introduced when I last was there.  I don't think those boats were owned by local fishers.)

     The impact of tourism on coral reef heavily depends on how it is done.  There are published papers on the effects
 of diving in the Red Sea, where divers making shore dives have worn paths through the coral on the reef flat, and reef
 slopes have been reported to be impacted by the divers.  On the other hand, in Cozumel, I documented the recovery of corals after Hurricane Gilbert, in spite of about 2000 tourist dives per day on just 15 miles of reef.  I don't know but my guess is that when the Prime Minister of Australia decided to go ahead with the plan to increase the no-take areas in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park, the fact that reef tourism produces much more income for Australia than reef fishing, may have been a major part of the decision.  Perhaps someone can fill us in on that point.
     In the Philippines, whale watching and whale shark watching ecotourism operations are said to employ those who used to hunt those animals, as their spotters.  Seems a perfect fit, they have the expertise to find them which the tourism operation needs.  Unfortunately for diving, most fishers don't have skills in leading scuba dives.  They do
 have boating skills that could be used for the dive boats.  The skills for leading scuba dives can be taught quickly, of course.  And those who are spear fishers are already very skilled in the water.
     In Palau, all businesses must have local partners, and the people working in the dive shops are Palauan.  I'm told that everybody there is a fisher, whether for subsistence or artisinal, so all these people working in the dive industry there are fishers getting benefits from the diving industry.
     All that said, there are a lot of places that don't work that way.  But it can be done.  We have to keep in mind, though, that a place like Indonesia or the Philippines, with 13,000 and 3,000 islands respectively, have such a vast amount of reefs and vast number of poor fishers, that the diving industry will not be able to provide benefits for everyone or protect all the reefs.  It can help, but it can't do it all.   Cheers,  Doug


Douglas Fenner
Coral Reef Monitoring Ecologist
Dept Marine & Wildlife Resources

Mailing address:
PO Box 3730
Pago Pago, AS 96799

work phone 684  633 4456

Fishery reform slips through the net

Upcoming change fails to tackle the pernicious relationship between government advisers and the fishing lobby, says Rainer Froese.

Nature 475, July 6, 2011


From: Bill Allison <allison.billiam at gmail.com>
To: Hector Reyes <hreyes at uabcs.mx>
Cc: "coral-list at coral.aoml.noaa.gov" <coral-list at coral.aoml.noaa.gov>; Eugene Shinn <eshinn at marine.usf.edu>
Sent: Friday, August 12, 2011 6:44 AM
Subject: Re: [Coral-List] Economic Valuation and market based conservation

Agreed. Its part of the
 governance problem.
Shark conservation is worth plenty to tourism in principle but what do the
fishermen get in return for not catching the sharks?
Fictitious employment in consultants'
Ditto for marine protected areas.

On Fri, Aug 12, 2011 at 1:37 PM, Hector Reyes <hreyes at uabcs.mx> wrote:

> ok great. millions and millions of dollars. but who profits or wins the
> most? not the local residents.
> at least in mexico, most ecotourism business are owned by foreign citizens
> and is not unusual that they have offices that contact the clients in the
> USA or europe, bring them in US airlines, pick them at the airport and
> drove them directly to hotel (owned by foreigners), and then take them to
> the site under the care of guides born in the US (who many times are
> working illegally in the country).. in short the visitors have practically
> no contact whatsoever with the local population, and spend a minimum
> amount here; most of the
 money never even enters the
> the thing here is not if ecotourism produces money, but who benefits from
> it. when the locals receive their fair share, they will be happy and
> actively collaborate in conservation activities (a good example is cabo
> pulmo, in baja california). when they do not, they have no real reason why
> to consider ecotourism as a real alternative. and in those cases I believe
> that all our econometric studies miss the point.
> Hector Reyes
> UABCS, la Paz
> > Catching up on PLoS One I came across this article relevant to this
> > discussion. In my experience eco-tourism is often less eco and more
> > tourism
> > in part because the marine environment is harder to govern, but the
> > article
> > provides some empirically grounded food for thought.
> >
> > Kirkby, C. A., R. Giudice-Granados, et al.
 (2010). "The Market Triumph of
> > Ecotourism: An Economic Investigation of the Private and Social Benefits
> > of
> > Competing Land Uses in the Peruvian Amazon." PLoS ONE 5(9): e13015.
> >     Annual revenue flow to developing countries for ecotourism (or
> > nature-based tourism) could be as large as US$ 1210×1012, providing an
> > enormous financial incentive against habitat loss and exploitation.
> > However,
> > is ecotourism the most privately and/or socially valuable use of
> > rainforest
> > land? The question is rarely answered because the relevant data,
> estimates
> > of profits and fixed costs, are rarely available. We present a social
> > cost-benefit analysis of land use in an ecotourism cluster in the
> > Tambopata
> > region of Amazonian Peru. The net present value of
> > land is given by the producer surplus (profits plus fixed costs of
> > ecotourism lodges): US$ 1,158 ha?1, which is higher than all currently
> > practiced alternatives, including unsustainable logging, ranching, and
> > agriculture. To our knowledge, this is the first sector-wide study of
> > profitability and producer surplus in a developing-country ecotourism
> > sector
> > and the first to compare against equivalent measures for a spectrum of
> > alternative uses. We also find that ecotourism-controlled land sequesters
> > between 5.3 to 8.7 million tons of above-ground carbon, which is
> > equivalent
> > to between 3000?5000 years of carbon emissions from the domestic
> component
> > of air and surface travel between the gateway city of Cusco and the
> > lodges,
> > at 2005 emission rates.
 Ecotourism in Tambopata has successfully
> monetized
> > the hedonic value of wild nature in Amazonian Peru, and justifies the
> > maintenance of intact rainforest over all alternative uses on narrow
> > economic grounds alone.
> >
> >
> http://www.plosone.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0013015
> >
> >
> >
> >
> > On Thu, Aug 11, 2011 at 1:55 PM, Szmant, Alina <szmanta at uncw.edu> wrote:
> >
> >> Hi Gene:
> >>
> >> Nice summary of the old times and history of the Keys.  I remember the
> >> Overseas Highway back in the 1950s when my family drove to Key
 West to
> >> take
> >>
 the ferry to Havana.  There were a few road-side stands with clumps of
> >> bleached Acropora cervicornis (no I did know the scientific name back
> >> then
> >> but I can clearly see the corals in my mind) and a few small A. palmata.
> >>  But I was most impressed as a child by the dried coconuts made into
> >> pirate
> >> faces!
> >>
> >> The first time I went diving in Keys was 1977 and in the Bahamas
> >> (Nassau)
> >> 1971, and coming from living and working in La Parguera PR, where there
> >> were
> >> still lots of live coral (70+ % live cover) and fishes, and hardly any
> >> algae
> >> except in grassbeds and mangroe lagoons, I confess I was not impressed
> >> by
> >> what I saw, and attributed the differences to the marginal latitude and
 >> colder winters.  In PR we didn't start seeeing major loss of coral until
> >> after the 1987 bleaching events, and I was impressed with the amount of
> >> dead
> >> coral along the Andros reef line facing crystal clear Tongue of the
> >> Ocean,
> >> including unihabited Jolters Keys, in 1986-1987.  Mid 80's I had a
> >> chance to
> >> explore other parts of the Bahamas along Eleuthera, and was also
> >> impressed
> >> by high rates of bioerosion and partial mortality even in areas of
> >> minimal
> >> human presence.  My first work in the Florida Keys was on Carysfort in
> >> 1982
> >> when the reef was covered by dense thickets of A cervicornis and palmata
> >> ...
> >>  We had a re
> >>  al cold winter December of 1983, and when
 I went back to look for the
> >> corals, spring of 1984, they weren't there.
> >>
> >> While I am not discounting the potential negative influence of Keys
> >> development on the state of corals of the Florida Keys, it appears to me
> >> that bigger/more broadscale factors have been at work.  Could be Sahara
> >> dust
> >> was bringing in harmful substances including pathogens in the early
> >> 1980s,
> >> but a lot of work on that angle has not produced any conclusive evidence
> >> that I am aware of.  I still put my last 10 chips on the global warming
> >> square as being the factor that tipped the cart on top of overfishing
> >> and
> >> local sedimentation/water quality issues..  Unfortuneately, the interest
> >> in
> >> getting a better handle on coral
 reproduction and recruitment came late
> >> in
> >> the game once there wasn't much coral recruitment occuring on many
> >> reefs,
> >> and so now we can't really interpret what we measure as present rates
> >> with
> >> century back patterns.  We do know that places like Curacao and Bonaire
> >> have
> >> much higher densities of juvenile corals that places like PR and FL, but
> >> now
> >> these southern locations
> >>  are going down-hill real fast as they have also been hit by severe
> >> bleaching this past year.  Thus we are losing our chance for comparative
> >> ecology with the loss of these until recently, fairly rich coral
> >> populations.
> >>
> >> Now that I too am retired, it will be up to the younger scientists to
> >>
> >> if they can figure all of this out.  Back in 1984, as I was applying for
> >> a
> >> different position with the University of Miami, I was asked by a
> >> terrestrial type within the Biology Dept., who had little regard for
> >> marine
> >> biology, and even less for anyone studying corals and coral reefs (we
> >> were
> >> obviously just sun-and-fun types), what I would work on if all the
> >> corals
> >> died:  My reply was that maybe that would at last shake loose some
> >> research
> >> funds!  It's unfortunate that both of these events came to pass, but the
> >> fudning came to late for coral reef ecologists to get enough work done
> >> on
> >> reefs before we were already studying sick systems (at least for much of
> >> the
 >> Caribbean)..
> >>
> >> So much we have learned, so much more to learn, and not so much time to
> >> learn it in!
> >>
> >> Best,
> >>
> >> Alina
> >>
> >> P.S.  I agree with you that the social valuation tack has not and will
> >> not
> >> work, because the problem is bigger than just coral reefs, and there at
> >> 7
> >> Billion contributors to the problem (and growing fast)
> >>
> >>
> >>
> >>
> >> **********************************************
> >> Dr. Alina M. Szmant
> >> Professor of Marine Biology
> >> Coral Reef Research Program, Center for Marine Science
> >> University of North Carolina Wilmington
> >> 5600 Marvin K. Moss Lane
> >> Wilmington NC
> >> Tel:  (910)962-2362; fax: (910)962-2410;  cell:  (910)200-3913
> >> http://people.uncw.edu/szmanta
> >> **********************************************
> >> ________________________________________
> >> From:
> >> coral-list-bounces at coral.aoml.noaa.gov[coral-list-bounces at coral.aoml.
> >> .noaa.gov] On Behalf Of Eugene Shinn [eshinn at marine.usf.edu]
> >> Sent: Wednesday, August
 10, 2011 2:53 PM
> >> To: coral-list at coral.aoml.noaa.gov
> >> Subject: [Coral-List] Economic Valuation and market  based conservation
> >>
> >> Dear Listers,
> >>      My criticism of economic schemes for saving corals and calling
> >> it "social engineering" apparently raised blood pressures and
> >> stimulated many thoughtful discussions. I can't respond to postings
> >> about many reef areas mentioned in the posts, but Rudy's posting
> >> touches on several events/changes in the Florida Keys that I know
> >> very well.
> >>      I was born in Key West and began diving in the Keys in 1950.
> >> There are not many of us left. Because of age and
 location, I
> >> observed many historical and sociological changes leading to the
> >> present.
 Even though this is a rather long read, here is some history
> >> as seen through cynical eyes. Keys history suggests possible ways
> >> Keys history affected coral growth. One must first realize that the
> >> Florida Keys have been a magnet for people running away from
> >> something since the first pirates and later loyalists from the
> >> Bahamas. Key West for most of its history was like a foreign country
> >> more closely allied to Cuba than the US and people running from
> >> something are still arriving. First some diving and social history.
> >>      When I began driving from Miami to go diving in the early 1950s,
> >> the only gas station between Homestead and Key West was in Marathon.
> >> The Last Chance Bar and Grill off US 1 in Homestead was almost the
> >> last chance. The Overseas Liquor store
 in Marathon was the other one.
> >> This was a time  when bay bottom mud was being pumped up to create
> >> Duck Key and Key Colony Village, and other Keys were being enlarged
> >> and cut with canals.
> >>       There were about 20 hardcore divers spear fishing in the Keys
> >> at that time. We pretty much knew each other because we often met at
> >> the same Miami fish markets and restaurants selling our fish.
> >> AAU-sponsored spear fishing contests were held somewhere in the Keys
> >> every year. One could launch a boat at places like the Gulf Stream
> >> Club on Garden Cove or other out-of-the-way places with little worry
> >> that your car and trailer might be stolen. If you carried your 6-hp
> >> outboard in the trunk, as I did, you could rent a wooden skiff for 3
> >> dollars a day.
 There were no dive shops or dive boats. "Aqua lungs"
> >> were beginning to appear, but most skin divers could not afford them.
> >> The greatest deterrent to Keys diving and fishing was the mosquitoes.
> >> Getting from car to safely offshore was painful.
> >>      Some roadside shops sold a few conch shells and coral but there
> >> were few tourists. Mosquitoes kept them in their cars. The Coast
> >> Guard was still dynamiting coral to open a channel for supply boats
> >> that supplied the men living on lighthouses. About 5 people manned
> >> most lighthouses. Carysfort had telephone communications to shore and
> >> the remains of the cable are still in the access channel.
> >>      Motels were few and far between, and water barely trickled from
> >> showerheads. It came from a
 12-inch-diameter pipe that ran from
> >> Homestead to Key West. Keys well water was brackish. Lack of water
> >> and periodic hurricanes such as Donna in 1960 and Betsy in 1965 kept
> >> development in check. The granddaddy of all hurricanes, of course,
> >> was the Labor Day Storm of 1935. It wiped out Flagler's railroad,
> >> killed more than 400 people, and remained on the minds of many Keys
> >> residents. But what about the coral reefs?
> >>      In the late 1950s, Dr. Gill Voss (one of my professors at UM)
> >> became concerned that the growing numbers of shell and coral
> >> collectors were collecting excessive amounts of coral. Few knew how
> >> fast corals grew, although the Carnegie Institute laboratory at
> >> Loggerhead Key, Dry Tortugas, had determined growth rates in the
> >> 1920s
 and 1930s. Voss published many articles that helped lead to
> >> creation of John Pennekamp State Park. The Park was named after
> >> Pennekamp because as Editor of the Miami Herald newspaper, he had
> >> played a major role in creating Everglades National Park. National
> >> Park rules prevented parks from being named after people. Ironically,
> >> the main purpose of the State Park was to prevent spear fishing.
> >> There had long been a war going on between Conchs (the name for Keys
> >> and Key West residents) and charter boat captains, and young spear
> >> fishermen from Miami. These young divers, including me, brought
> >> little money and competed for the local fish. They were socially very
> >> different. One diver I knew was actually murdered by lobster
> >> fishermen. No one was prosecuted. Interestingly, very few
> >> boat operators or lobster fishermen could swim or cared about
> >> learning. Fellow fishermen ridiculed them whenever one accidentally
> >> fell in the water. They literally looked down on those who donned
> >> masks (we called them face plates) and flippers. Hardcore divers
> >> scorned snorkels. They were for tourists and the usually had
> >> Ping-Pong balls or flaps on the top. So when did the major changes in
> >> the Keys begin and why?
> >>     Major changes began in the 1970s. First came the 36-inch water
> >> pipe to Key West. Motels and other businesses at last had sufficient
> >> water. Next came aerial spraying of toxic chemicals to control
> >> mosquitoes, and coincidentally butterflies. Additionally, and what I
> >> think most important, no hurricanes struck the Keys between
 1965 and
> >> Andrew in 1992. Fortunately, Andrew missed the heart of the Keys.
> >> Burger Kings, McDonalds gas stations and marinas popped up by the
> >> later part of the 1970s.. The biggest monetary change occurred when
> >> the square groupers arrived. Square grouper was the local name for
> >> bales of pot. Pot, smuggling, and later cocaine, brought sudden
> >> wealth, and almost overnight many lobster fishermen began driving
> >> Mercedes and purchased fleets of boats and thousands of traps. Motels
> >> and marinas enlarged and property values skyrocketed. Homes,
> >> property, and boats were being bought with suitcases of hard cash
> >> while beer trucks transported weed northward on US 1. Illegal aliens
> >> flooded in, leading to creation of roadblocks on US 1. They were
> >> usually right next to the
 Last Chance Bar and Grill. Inspecting car
> >> trunks revealed the true extent of drug smuggling so periodic
> >> roadblocks persisted. Roadblocks of course impacted tourism, leading
> >> to establishment of the so-called Conch Republic in 1981. Creating
> >> the Republic and threatening to secede from the Union was a joke but
> >> the term Conch Republic stuck and proudly remains today. To avoid the
> >> roadblock, smugglers could telephone the Last Chance Bar and learn if
> >> one was in place. Some Keys politicians and public employees could
> >> not resist easy money. Some roads to nowhere were constructed. The
> >> one on Sugarloaf Key was covered with skid marks where small planes
> >> landed to unload. It was a very different place worthy of many Jimmy
> >> Buffett songs. A pirate turns 40 became popular.
 >>      The exact dates escape me but a Federal court ruling limited the
> >> State's offshore jurisdiction to 3 miles on the Atlantic side of the
> >> Keys. Pennekamp State Park could no longer protect the best reef
> >> areas farther offshore. That change in Federal law provided an
> >> opportunity for NOAA's new Sanctuary Program to take over
> >> jurisdiction of unprotected offshore waters. By then, the National
> >> Marine Sanctuary Program had been created under the Department of
> >> Commerce to protect the site of the Civil War ship Monitor.
> >> Establishment of that site was followed by a proposal to create the
> >> Texas Flower Garden Reef Sanctuary; however, enactment took many
> >> years because NOAA was up against Texas politics and the petroleum
> >> industry. Sanctuaries were also being
 proposed in many areas
> >> previously selected as potential oil exploration areas. There was
> >> much angst within the petroleum industry and on Capitol Hill. But
> >> that's another long story.
> >>        Meanwhile, the Key Largo Marine Sanctuary was created after
> >> much wrangling, and State rangers were deputized to patrol both State
> >> and Federal waters. I was on the boat and took photos of the ceremony
> >> when John Pennekamp cosigned the official documents. At that time,
> >> corals were almost pristine.
> >>      After the new water pipe, initiation of mosquito spraying, lack
> >> of hurricanes, and the creation of the Sanctuary, the upper Keys
> >> became a magnet for out-of-state divers. They came in droves! Dive
> >> shops sprang up, as did dive charter
 boats. The war with line-fishing
> >> charter boats was over. Scuba diving became king!
> >>       Meanwhile, business leaders in the lower Keys took note and
> >> looked longingly at the activity and money lavished on the upper
> >> Keys. After some preliminary studies, NOAA next proposed
> >> establishment of the Looe Key Sanctuary. Several long and heated
> >> public hearings ensued. Most Conch Republic residents because of
> >> their independent nature resisted anything associated with the
> >> Federal government. Signs everywhere said, "Just Say No To NOAA."
> >> Some faded signs still exist. NOAA left but returned again thereafter
> >> and held the public hearings in Miami to avoid all the flack. Keys
> >> residents still did not want it, but finally the last bill Jimmy
> >> Carter signed on
 the night before he left office created the Looe Key
> >> Marine Sanctuary. Soon after, the first manager got busted and was
> >> fired for spear fishing at Looe Key.
> >>      Keys Conchs know the rest of the story. Sentiment began to
> >> change as non-Conchs (they are known as freshwater conchs) moved to
> >> the Republic. Population exploded, business flourished, and adult
> >> bookstores appeared on every major Key. Sometimes I wonder what the
> >> Keys real attraction really is?
> >>     On November 16, 1990, a new bill was signed that converted the
> >> entire Florida Keys into a National Marine Sanctuary. The final
> >> management plan was completed May 1993. It should be noted that the
> >> Sanctuary is under the Department of Commerce, which is
> >> philosophically and
 politically distinct from nearby Everglades Park
> >> and Biscayne National Park, which are under the Department of
> >> Interior. Pennekamp State Park still exists, as does the Looe Key
> >> Sanctuary, and there are several other State-owned land areas. In
> >> addition, there are Fish and Wildlife-protected areas nestled within
> >> the Marine Sanctuary. Fish and Wildlife is also under Department of
> >> Interior.
> >>        So what has all this activity created? By 1990, there were
> >> 30,000 septic tanks, about 10,000 cesspits (septic tanks without
> >> bottoms), and dozens of small sewage treatment plants outfitted with
> >> a total of 1,000 shallow injection wells to receive treated sewage. A
> >> regionalized sewage system is presently under construction, but green
> >> lawns
 flourish thanks to chemical fertilizers and weed killers.
> >> Mosquito spraying remains routine and I am told some butterflies are
> >> making a comeback. To my knowledge, no significant studies have been
> >> conducted to determine the effect of mosquito spraying on coral and
> >> the marine ecosystem.. I conclude that even hardcore environmentalists
> >> draw the line between which organisms live and die. All these changes
> >> came rapidly, and one might at this point ask, did creating the
> >> Sanctuary to save the reefs have a reverse effect by publicizing and
> >> attracting more and more divers, businesses, residents, hotels, and
> >> motels, etc., to the Florida Keys? On other hand, did people come
> >> because of the unprecedented 27-year-absence of hurricanes? Or, could
> >> it have been the sudden abundance of
 freshwater and lack of
> >> mosquitoes? Was it the resultant increase in human sewage and
> >> chemicals that contributed to reef demise? Or was it caused by runoff
> >> of chemicals from agriculture, so-called "Big Sugar," to the north?
> >> Clearly overfishing explains the dwindling fish population, but
> >> whether that affected coral growth is controversial. Most Keys
> >> citizens have selected a favorite villain and some would like to see
> >> a barricade at the entrance to the Keys, or at least a tollgate. I
> >> personally maintain that a major factor has been the absence of big
> >> hurricanes since 1965. Periodic hurricanes, such as those that
> >> occurred repeatedly before 1965, would have greatly changed Keys
> >> history and development.
> >>      Nowadays, many argue coral demise is
 due to global warming, or
> >> the newest villain, alkalinity shift (a.k.a. ocean acidification),
> >> but they forget that major coral mortality began back when leading
> >> scientists were predicting global cooling.
> >>      As every coral scientist knows, the demise of the coral reefs
> >> began in the late 1970s and peaked in 1983 and 1984. Coral bleaching
> >> came to Florida later in 1986-87. Coral demise was occurring
> >> throughout the Caribbean in the early 1980s, even around islands with
> >> few people. The black-spined sea urchin Diadema suffered at least 90
> >> percent mortality everywhere in the Caribbean. The urchins literally
> >> died off in a period of one year during 1983, about the same year
> >> seafan disease appeared. Many acres of elkhorn and staghorn corals
> >> died
 within a few months adjacent to the Finger Lakes Marine
> >> Laboratory on remote San Salvador, Bahamas. The rapid die-off that
> >> happened in 1983 was well documented by the scientists at the Finger
> >> Lakes lab.
> >>      In retrospect, 1983 and 1984 were the banner years for African
> >> dust transport to the Caribbean as well as Acropora coral demise most
> >> everywhere in the Caribbean. I am reminded that the sponge industry
> >> suffered a similar Caribbean-wide demise in 1938 and later in the
> >> Gulf of Mexico in the late 1940s. The causes of the sponge deaths
> >> were not determined, and the events have long been forgotten. So what
> >> really caused reef demise and the earlier sponge deaths? Could it be
> >> a combination of factors? Many scientists and agencies seem to have
> >>
 their favorite candidates that shift with time. They generally prefer
> >> an activity such as anchor damage and boat groundings that can be
> >> controlled through fines. Natural biological cycles or the African
> >> dust hypothesis are not acceptable villains.
> >>      There is much we still don't know, and currently little research
> >> is aimed at experimentally determining causes. Finger pointing will
> >> likely continue until the coral bounces back and everyone can claim
> >> victory. I admit this is a personal rather cynical history not likely
> >> found in most publications such as those published by Chambers of
> >> Commerce and various agencies. Does any of this history relate to the
> >> original question of saving reefs through economic means? Will an
> >> economic valuation and market-based
 conservation approach as proposed
> >> for a mini-session at the next ICRS prevent a "tragedy of the
> >> commons?" Will these schemes actually save the corals? Who will
> >> profit and who will lose? I wonder if the corals will benefit.
> >>
> >> 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
> >> -----------------------------------
> >> _______________________________________________
> >> Coral-List mailing list
> >> Coral-List at coral.aoml.noaa.gov
> >> http://coral.aoml.noaa.gov/mailman/listinfo/coral-list
> >> _______________________________________________
> >> Coral-List mailing list
> >> Coral-List at coral.aoml.noaa.gov
> >> http://coral.aoml.noaa.gov/mailman/listinfo/coral-list
> >>
> >
> >
> > --
> > ________________________________
> > Is this how science illuminates "reality"? - "the meaning of an episode
> > was
> > not inside like a kernel but outside, enveloping the talk which brought
> it
> > out only as a glow brings out a haze."
> > - narrator's comment about Marlow's tale-telling, in Heart of Darkness
> > (Conrad)
> > _______________________________________________
> > Coral-List mailing list
> > Coral-List at coral.aoml.noaa.gov
> > http://coral.aoml.noaa.gov/mailman/listinfo/coral-list
> --
> Héctor Reyes Bonilla
> Universidad Autónoma de
 Baja California Sur
> Departamento
 Académico de Biología Marina
> Apartado postal 19-B, CP 23080. La Paz, B.C.S.

Is this how science illuminates "reality"? - "the meaning of an episode was
not inside like a kernel but outside, enveloping the talk which brought it
out only as a glow brings out a haze."
- narrator's comment about Marlow's tale-telling, in Heart of Darkness
Coral-List mailing list
Coral-List at coral.aoml.noaa.gov

More information about the Coral-List mailing list