[Coral-List] regarding positive impacts to coral reefs

Rudy Bonn rudy_bonn at yahoo.com
Wed Aug 24 12:50:52 EDT 2011

I dont know if we are ever going to succeed in educating users about the current status of coral reef ecosystems and what needs to be done to stop the decline, if its not too late already.  I have been out diving with a number of dive operators in the Keys and they take these inexperienced people out, especially during lobster season, which runs from August through March here in the keys, and I am and shocked and in disbelief of what I see in terms of physical contact with the reef.  Now, to add more gas to the fire, we are in an all out war against the lionfish which also likes to hang out in the reef along with the lobsters.
Dive operators, charter boat operators, etc should be a major line of defense, I mean their very livelihoods depend on healthy coral reef ecosystems.  But, when there is money involved in this sense, protection of the resource takes a back seat!  
The entire Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary is a no-discharge zone as well and we know that a major disease that wiped out the acroporids has been gentically linked to an enteric bacteria speies that is only found in the human digestive tract.  I dont know how much of this stuff could have originated from stormwater run-off, but I imagine there are still people illegally discharging into sanctuary waters and of course the many years before the no-discharge zone regulations were enacted.  It almost seems to me that people just dont care, and its a shame because I teach Coral Camp every summer to kids aged six through twelve years of age and I have to tell them that there is the possibility that their children may not have the opportunity to see a living coral reef!  We need to do something now because it is so urgent that people realize what would happen if coral reef ecsystems begin to disappear, as they already have, and the cascading
 effects this would have throughout marine ecosystems.  How can we do it, How can we safe the reefs from their most formidable foe-- Apathy!    

Rudy S Bonn
Director of Marine Projects
Reef Relief
631 Greene Street
Key West, FL 33040

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