[Coral-List] regarding positive impacts to coral reefs

Arrecifes de coral corales2006 at hotmail.com
Wed Aug 31 19:39:31 EDT 2011

Dear Colleagues,
I agree with the coral listers Rudy Bonn and Steve Mussman (see their messages below) about the negative impact on the coral colonies after sport divers are involved in lionfish 
"hunting" massive campaigns. According to the reports of our Net of Volunteer Coral Reef Observers (RENOBOS http://icri-colombia.es.tl/Sitios-monitoreados-por-RENOBOS.htm  and  http://icri-colombia.blogspot.com/2011/04/no-pescar-pez-loro-si-pescar-pez-leon.html) created by The Foundation ICRI Colombia, the diving operators invovled on those campaigns are questioned by their clients about why they have changed their ecofriendly practices of guidance to admire resilient coral reefs, to become fishermen or "lionfish hunters". They replied to feel pressure by the authorities to copy the initiative from developed countries. Our Foundation has asked the Colombian Government to involve more the artesanal fishermen as a more continuous and sustainable solution and allow them to eat and sell their lionfish fishing products since in our developing country We still have plenty of fishermen who may find lionfish line fishing (deep coral reef areas) and small net fishing (shallow coral reef areas) as an economic alternative and food safety since snappers, groupers and other carnivorous are scarce that They have to fish parrot fish in stead. The only worries would be the safe manipulation of lionfish and the ciguatera that until now has no been reported in Colombia. We would like to share our findings during the next international meetings about the Colombian coral reef management effectiveness, in general,  during the last twenty years; and specifically about economic valuations dealing with the lionfish potential market value and ilegal fishing fines, as well as the monitoring of sewage water indicators in two Colombian case studies, one close to the Borders with the Panama in the Caribbean Sea
Nohora Galvis
Executive Director Foundation ICRI Colombia - Initiative in Pro of Colombian Coral Reefs
ICRI Focal Point for the Colombian Civil Society
Group of Researchers
> Date: Wed, 24 Aug 2011 09:50:52 -0700
> From: rudy_bonn at yahoo.com
> To: coral-list at coral.aoml.noaa.gov
> Subject: Re: [Coral-List] regarding positive impacts to coral reefs
> 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
> 305-294-3100
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> Date: Wed, 24 Aug 2011 16:15:23 -0400
> From: sealab at earthlink.net
> To: coral-list at coral.aoml.noaa.gov
> Subject: [Coral-List] Economic Valuation and market based conservation
> An email which contained information about REEF's lionfish derby 
> made me think of discussions on the list relating to the complexities
> involved in assessing the economic value of coral reef systems and
> how this relates to the acute need to increase public awareness
> of the mounting crisis in coral reef ecology world wide. 
> (http://www.reef.org/lionfish/derbies/keysderbies)
> Promoting lionfish "derbies" is a great illustration of the conundrum
> that we face in our attempt to deal with issues relating to coral reef 
> conservation as it applies to economic valuation. We have an invasive 
> species whose very presence in the area brings legitimate concerns, but 
> in finding creative ways to perhaps control their population (and stimulate
> economic activity / tourism), have we really considered all the implications 
> on the reefs themselves?
> From my experience in hunting lionfish (within coral reef systems),
> it is extremely difficult to spear and capture this species without 
> impacting the reef habitat in which it resides.(I know this dynamic 
> also comes into play during the sportsman's lobster season). 
> So here is a good one to ponder.
> How do we appraise the value of the negative impact of the lionfish
> on our reefs and then compare that to the costs of the potential damage 
> caused by divers contact with the reefs that will undoubtedly result from 
> their enthusiastic pursuit of the honor and prize money offered for winning 
> the event? 
> Ex. If 675 lionfish were removed during the competition, how would 
> you calculate the positive value to the reef ecosystem? In doing so would
> you need to also evaluate and put a price on the extent of physical damage 
> sustained by the reef in the effort? And, of course, what about the value
> of the economic impact that holding the event brings to the local business 
> community? 
> I certainly don’t have the answers, but I believe that this scenario 
> reflects on the difficulties and complications of the issue before us.
> All the while, these factors and many more seem to be extracting their
> toll on the reefs we are all trying to conserve and protect for 
> future generations.
> One more personal note. Earlier this month I encountered the first 
> lionfish that I’ve ever seen in the Gulf of Mexico on a wreck off the 
> coast of Panama City Beach, Florida. I expect this episode to become a 
> common occurrence in the years to come even if the diving community 
> aggressively attempts to eradicate the uninvited intruders on sight. 
> Regards,
> Steve Mussman
> Sea Lab Diving 		 	   		  

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