[Coral-List] Impact of listing 66 coral species on coral research

Eugene Shinn eshinn at marine.usf.edu
Tue Dec 11 15:16:28 EST 2012

Well I am still waiting for someone on the Coral-List to spell out 
how listing these coral species will save them.  However, I did 
receive lots of interesting comments from coral researchers off-line 
and decided to share them without revealing their names. Here are a 
Right Gene, not sure how listing these species will affect these 
corals when the group advocating for these listings states that 
climate change is the biggest reason for them being threatened. Also 
claiming the aquarium trade is a problem is a bit of a red herring 
since only a handful of the species (<5?) are traded in any 
significant way plus much of the Acropora coming from Indonesia, 
Vanuatu and Fiji is aquacultured.
I can't wait until I retire so I can carry on saying the things that 
need to be said to these folks.
	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.
Hi Gene

Plus, if these 66 corals are threatened, why aren't all corals being listed?

Plus, population data are apparently not relevant. They don't care 
how many are out there. We sent them population estimates for the six 
species in the Keys, and the numbers are huge for most.  And the ones 
that have fewer numbers have always been rare.  So, the population 
biology of rare species does not matter.

Group therapy is a good description of what they are doing.  I would 
add that they are also self-congratulatory to the point of delusion.

Don't look at me. I went to one of the meetings and vehemently 
opposed this "new" listing. No recovery plan put forward for Acropora 
corals, yet. Not good.
Inmates are running the asylum.
 From an ex-Steinhart aquarist (albeit volunteer).  Other impacts from 
this new ESA designation that you may not anticipate:
	You could now be required to do an ESA impact assessment to 
launch a boat with bottom paint into tropical waters
	Require another special license to take or culture any coral 
on the ESA list.  This permit will be overseen by an idiot in an air 
conditioned office in the EPA DC office who has never left the 
beltway and won't be able to look at your permit until next month 
because of required training courses his office must attend.
	Require special permits to maintain (don't even consider 
rebuilding or expanding) any shoreline infrastructure in the tropics
	Require all marine labs in the tropics (okay - probably all 
residences too) to construct individual WWTPs to treat all sewage to 
drinking level standards (there goes the research budget)
	Given the present definition of "Take" will you be allowed to 
swim over a reef and block the sunshine?
	Require toilet facilities on ALL boats carrying divers - Yup, 
even that 8-foot Avon!
	What kind of a permit do you think it will require to allow 
cultured (read: potentially contaminated) Diadema to be intentionally 
placed near a bed of ESA corals? Humm...

The list could go on and on, but you get the idea.  Once these 
regulations are established it will unleash the (deleted) who will 
come up with hundreds of new rules all well intentioned, and all with 
additional unanticipated affects.
I have read your Op Ed with great interest and have concluded that 
you know too much about these matters that are of gravest importance 
to those who want to keep their job.

As we plunge off the fiscal cliff (yes, I believe we will) remember 
your natural history. All of those lemmings didn't die, otherwise the 
species would now be extinct.  Same applies to corals, a point you 
have made very clearly.

I would have added my own list of unintended consequences but right 
now I am worried about Dec 21 which seems just a valid as a lot I 
have been reading. I suppose that once listed we could use the 
approach Fish and Wildlife is advocating for saving the spotted owl. 
That approach would stop those pesky parrotfish from taking lethal 
bites out of Montastrea sp.  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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