Sarah Frias-Torres sfrias_torres at hotmail.com
Mon Jun 25 10:12:07 EDT 2012

AbbieI contacted the Ecobioball folks asking for written evidence on the environmentally-friendly fish food and the material used in the balls. They replied saying they'll be happy to send me the information and I"m still waiting.
As for the scenario you describe in your email, it will re-inforce a destructive behavior in people, basically, that it's ok to throw things into the oceans, specifically, it's ok to throw things into a coral reef. Even if the ecobioballs were harmless (and again, we don't have the evidence yet, still waiting on that), allowing this "on the sea" golf course will just perpetuate a behavior that marine scientists and conservationists are working really hard to change, which is, trashing the oceans. 
A second problem is the potential localized fertilization these ecobioballs might produce in the coral reef itself. The videos in the company web site show minnow-sized fish eating the fish food at the core of the balls in aquarium conditions. And those might not be the conditions found at the coral reef. What about the balls that fall in a delicate reef area, on top of a coral, or get trapped in some corner of the reef by currents and wave action, then start leaching all their organic material on the coral itself? 
You also mention the coral reef is popular with snorkelers. I have not visited this coral reef myself, but I'm sure if it's popular with snorkelers there must be something interesting and beautiful there, otherwise the snorkelers won't go. Even if snorkelers won't be in the line of fire (how considerate, really), nothing prevents the balls to end up in sites the snorkelers do visit, and I doubt any of them will be thrilled to see half digested, half decomposed balls at the reef they are diving. I"m sure as resort guests they didn't pay all that money to see such a gruesome underwater scene.Has the resort conducted a cost-benefit analysis and considered the lost of revenue from unhappy snorkeler guests due to the presence of decomposing balls on the coral reef?

Sarah Frias-Torres, Ph.D. Schmidt Ocean Institute Postdoctoral FellowOcean Research & Conservation Association (ORCA) 1420 Seaway Drive, Fort Pierce, Florida 34949 USA Tel (772) 467-1600http://www.teamorca.orghttp://independent.academia.edu/SarahFriasTorres

> Date: Sun, 24 Jun 2012 09:34:52 -0400
> From: info at wiseoceans.com
> To: coral-list at coral.aoml.noaa.gov
> Subject: Re: [Coral-List] ECOBIOBALL
> Apologies to dredge up this topic having thanked everyone for their
> responses.  But I thought I might give some more details as it may prove
> useful to make the discussion more focused and specific to where the balls
> may be used (nothing is decided yet so it may not happen) but then again
> everything may already have been said!
> There is no golf course, the resort guests would be driving off from the
> beach into the sea, a bay in fact where there is a coral reef popular with
> snorkelers.  The snorkelers will not be snorkelling in the line of fire
> however!  Due to there not being a golf course the implications of
> fertilisers are not present.  So the impacts are really from the balls
> themselves and I don't think they will be used in huge numbers.  Then the
> other issue of changes in behaviour and attracting fish and then other
> fish who may be attracted by the other fish....
> At certain times of year there can be strong wave action within the bay so
> one concern is the number of balls that will just get washed straight back
> onto the beach as they do not sink straight away!  But that is less of an
> issue for this discussion really, apart from littering.
> So I wasn't sure if the discussion need go any further as I have many
> valid points from before but I just wanted to point out there was no golf
> course involved.
> Kind regards
> Abbie
> -- 
> Abbie Hine
> WiseOceans
> www.wiseoceans.com
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> understand and we will understand only what we are taught"  Baba Dioum
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