[Coral-List] 60 Minutes / Sustainable Tourism!?

Steve Mussman sealab at earthlink.net
Mon Dec 19 15:09:27 EST 2011

   The 60 Minute piece on the state of coral reef ecology served as an
   excellent primer which should help to increase public awareness and
   hopefully lead to more efforts aimed at gaining traction on this issue.
   At the same time, the segment raised some interesting questions.
   I would like to know how coral-list subscribers react to some of the
   statistics and assertions cited. (Ex. 90% of sharks are gone and 25%
   of reefs have been lost with another 25% likely  to disappear in the
   next two decades).
   And what about the ability of healthy reefs to resist the multiple stresses
   associated with development, tourism and rising atmospheric CO2 levels?
   This of course leads right to the topic of sustainable tourism. The reef
   featured was in a remote area fifty miles south of the main island of Cuba.
   Development and tourism is so highly restricted there that it would be
   unrealistic to expect that such standards could ever be applied to reefs
   located  in the more popular tourist-driven dive destinations. While I
   that all sustainability efforts are helpful, I question whether or not these
   can ever measure up and offset the greater forces at play.
   Certainly "healthy',  well-protected reefs such as The Gardens of the Queen
   will  be  better  equipped to withstand the onslaught, but if we don't
   deal with climate change and ocean temperatures continue to rise (along with
   associated trends in acidification), can there be any real hope that even
   relatively pristine reefs won't ultimately share the same fate as their less
   resistant counterparts?

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