[Coral-List] "Protecting corals" - 82 Corals Status Review

Christopher Hawkins chwkins at yahoo.com
Thu Jun 7 19:14:02 EDT 2012

Hello everyone:

Having spent a lot of time with both the revised and current versions of the management plan that governs the operation of the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary, I can tell you that when Gene says that "all corals are protected" within the FKNMS, he is speaking relatively and that such a statement is dependent.  Dependent on your definition of "protected," dependent on what areas of the Sanctuary we are talking about, dependent on what specific things need how much specific protection and where. This list goes on..   

We are talking about an area of water (approximately 3,000 sq. nautical miles) that has a large resident and tourist population on small islands adjacent, entrenched recreational and commercial uses, and a plethora of impacts from near and far beyond the boundaries of the Sanctuary.  

My point is that while the Congressional legislation that created the FKNMS spends a lot space talking about "protecting" the coral reef resources in the Keys, the fact is that the things necessary so in a way that might have immediate, large-scale, and dramatic impacts would be socially-unacceptable. This of course to take nothing away from the folks trying their best to manage the Sanctuary.  It is just the socio-political reality indicative of the resource management paradox of trying to maintain an ecosystem in a particular state for future generations while at the same time allowing the current generation access and use.        

So, are we really protecting corals in the Keys via the Sanctuary?  Will ESA listing do anything of the sort? Again, it depends.


--- On Thu, 6/7/12, Eugene Shinn <eshinn at marine.usf.edu> wrote:

From: Eugene Shinn <eshinn at marine.usf.edu>
Subject: [Coral-List] 82 Corals Status Review under the US Endangered Species Act
To: coral-list at coral.aoml.noaa.gov
Date: Thursday, June 7, 2012, 2:34 PM

There can be little argument against protecting corals from 
anthropogenic sources when the sources are verifiable such as the 
"usual suspects" dredging etc. They can be controlled and monitored. 
It is different when other mysterious anthropogenic or natural 
sources that are not easily verifiable wipe-out large reef areas 
throughout the Caribbean. More ESA regulatory bureaucracy just builds 
additional barriers to research and diverts the funding needed to 
discover and eliminate those sources of coral demise. Such additional 
bureaucracy also pits major agencies and their divisions against each 
other. What is happening in the Florida Keys may be partly 
anthropogenic; especially in near shore areas where coral patch reefs 
were recently killed by the cold front in 2010. Fortunately a branch 
of NOAA  (Dept. of Commerce) and yet another Federal Agency (National 
Park Service) already protects all corals in the Florida Keys and 
nearby Dry Tortugas yet demise continues as I have been documenting 
for over 50 years. <http://gallery.usgs.gov/videos/334> There are 
hopeful signs that Acropora cervicornis is recovering in the 
Tortugas, however, it will likely be temporary because coring has 
shown it was never a significant reef builder there. However, father 
out in the greater Caribbean the slow death continues, including 
places where humans are few, and far between, and extreme coral 
killing cold fronts do not occur. Listing will do nothing for those 
corals or those in Florida for that matter. The euphemism, "tools 
provided by ESA," mentioned by DeeVon I assume means more laws and 
regulations. If so that should really scare scientists and government 
agencies trying to do research on the causes of demise. 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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