[Coral-List] NOAA Finds 66 Corals Warrant Listing under the US Endangered Species Act

Dean Jacobson atolldino at yahoo.com
Wed Dec 5 16:53:59 EST 2012

Out here in the remote Western Pacific, I can relate with your concern.
*  Coral mortality is localized to overpopulated areas, healthy everywhere else
*  Some of these coral are abundant 
*  Global impacts (temperature, pH) do not yet seem apparent (at least in the RMI)
However, that said, it is not wise to wait until the demise of most reefs to start raising the alarm.  This is clearly a bit of PR on the part of the Center for Biological Diveristy (good PR, I think), to try to increase the profile, the conversation about the ongoing/upcoming global biodiversity crisis.  We are in this for the long-haul, many centuries (we do not have a war against Christmas, but we do have a war against nature!).  It is wise to try to save what we can, to think very, very long term.  For humans, thinking longterm seems to be about as easy as a dog riding a bicycle.  Geologists get this, but some do not seem to be particularly concerned about unnecessary mass extinctions.  We need to be thinking more like naturalists, less like engineers or economists, IMHO.

From: Eugene Shinn <eshinn at marine.usf.edu>
To: coral-list at coral.aoml.noaa.gov 
Sent: Thursday, December 6, 2012 7:08 AM
Subject: [Coral-List] NOAA Finds 66 Corals Warrant Listing under the US Endangered Species Act

Dear Coral-Listers, I am still waiting for someone to explain how 
listing 66 coral species and elevating Acropora sp to endangered 
status is going to enhance their growth. We can only hope that 
listing may open taxpayer's pocket books to accomplish research aimed 
at discovering exactly what ails these corals. But, will listing fix 
the problem if the cause is discovered? Such research may take place 
if researchers have the time and patience to obtain the necessary 
research permits. Some excellent fieldwork has already suggested 
genomic effects allow certain individuals to thrive. In other words 
the strong will survive.  Warming seas of course is one of the usual 
suspects but unfortunately listing will not solve that problem.
      We should all commend those who have made important discoveries 
already by transplanting hardy individuals to special underwater 
racks and clotheslines.  These are important 
discoveries/demonstrations that indicate hardy individuals will 
eventually repopulate the reefs as they have done repeatedly during 
the past 6.000 years.  An interesting and surprising outcome of these 
coral garden experiments is accelerated growth even while growing in 
the same water that was supposed to be killing them. Listing clearly 
will not change that.  We should be thankful that most species, at 
least in the Atlantic, are already protected from physical abuse in a 
number of sanctuaries and MPAs. The question we should ask is, will 
adding another layer of expensive tax-supported government 
bureaucracy and specialized lawyers be helpful? Will another layer of 
government bureaucracy that cannot save these corals keep us from 
going over the fiscal cliff?  Yes, there will be 18 public hearings. 
How much that will cost? In  my experience these hearing exercises 
are a form of group therapy that simply softens the blow of larger 
expenses that follow.  I guess what will be will be.  It is a done 
deal like it or not.  Gene


No Rocks, No Water, No Ecosystem (EAS)
------------------------------------ -----------------------------------
E. A. Shinn, Courtesy Professor
University of South Florida
College of Marine Science Room 221A
140 Seventh Avenue South
St. Petersburg, FL 33701
<eshinn at marine.usf.edu>
Tel 727 553-1158---------------------------------- 
Coral-List mailing list
Coral-List at coral.aoml.noaa.gov

More information about the Coral-List mailing list