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

Robert Bourke rbourke at OCEANIT.COM
Wed Dec 5 16:22:12 EST 2012

	There are many instances that can be cited where the legislated protection of a species has indeed positively impacted the survival or resurgence of that species.  But in every instance (of which I am aware) the legislative action was necessary to either halt harvest or implement a physical action to save the species.  I wish this were true of these 66 coral species, but I fear it is not.  Hope I'm wrong.
	What the listing will definitely achieve however, will be a morass of red tape and effective blockage of ALL coastal projects in areas where one or more of these corals are thought to perhaps exist.  The unintended consequences of the listing are likely to be widespread, expensive, and will ultimately result in the development of adverse public opinion.
	Like I said, I hope I'm wrong.
Bob Bourke
Environmental Scientist  

-----Original Message-----
From: coral-list-bounces at coral.aoml.noaa.gov [mailto:coral-list-bounces at coral.aoml.noaa.gov] On Behalf Of Eugene Shinn
Sent: Wednesday, December 05, 2012 9:09 AM
To: coral-list at coral.aoml.noaa.gov
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----------------------------------
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