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

mtupper mtupper at coastal-resources.org
Thu Dec 13 09:23:27 EST 2012

Gene Shinn wrote:

"Listing all those species (why no list all corals??) is going to retard
 research needed to learn more about coal reefs.  Ask anyone who has ever worked
on a listed species of any kind."

I completely disagree with this statement. Admittedly, I work with listed reef
fish species rather than corals, but one thing I know for sure is that it is
EASIER to fund a research program on listed rather than unlisted species. For
example, I have been quite successful getting funding to study large groupers
and humphead wrasse. Do you think I would have had the same success if I had
sought funding to study blue chromis or beaugregories? Of course not. Listing a
species makes it a target for research and conservation funding dollars. Yes,
there are permits that represent extra hoops to jump through, but as Jennifer
Moore has already told us, NOAA will support research activities that aid the
conservation of listed corals (just as they do for listed reef fish).

On another note, several listers have doubted that listing a species does
anything to help it survive. Again I disagree. In addition to research, I also
work for an environmental consulting company, mainly doing environmental impact
assessments of proposed development projects such as oil and gas exploration,
LNG terminals, ports and coastal mines. The presence of listed species at a
proposed development site is often a deal-breaker. For instance, the presence of
coastal tailed frogs recently halted plans to develop a hydropower project on
the BC coast.. Many developments that could have serious negative consequences
for coral reefs through pollution, sedimenation, coral removal, etc., could be
thwarted by listing coral species.

And for those that were complaining about the cost of upgrading sewage systems
and other infrastructure to avoid killing listed corals, WAKE UP! Isn't that
exactly what we need to be doing to halt the rapid decline of coral reefs? I
would hope that most people on this list would prefer to pay a few extra dollars
in municipal taxes to support infrastructure improvements, rather than see their
local reefs disappear.


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