[Coral-List] NGO's, Corals, and Dive Industry

Rudy Bonn rudy_bonn at yahoo.com
Wed Nov 27 12:53:27 EST 2013

I agree with most of the opinions on the coral lists regarding this issue:  the combination of diver impacts, pollution, coastal development, and other athropogenic  stressors in synergy with natural stressors, but when Doug mentions a few isolated reefs where divers have a significant impact I am forced to question that, and I do respect Dougs ' opinions. 

The Florida Keys is the number one dive destination in the world, the third largest reef system in the world under current opinion, and has been heavily impacted by divers and snorkelers along with pollution, development,
(leaking septic systems for example) when houses in the Keys were first built, degraded water quality, marine debris from fishing activities, and a significant amount of impacts from divers, snorkelers, and vessels-- the reefs of the Florida Keys are overwhelmed.  Even with protective measures in place (FKNMS for example) they are still being impacted because enforcement of these measures is critically underfunded, instead the Sanctuary relies a great deal on compliance from the users of the resources, sometimes it works and sometimes not!  I, myself have witnessed people destroying coral colonies for the sake of grabbing a few lobster, especially during mini-season when hordes of people invade the keys that have little knowledge of the challenges that coral reefs are facing, maybe when there are no more lobsters, a little too late, as they say, "hindsight has 20/20 vision."
When you look at the money generated by divers and snorkelers visiting the Keys, I doubt if the dive industry in the Keys are scolding their customers for banging their tanks on a coral colony!  These businesses put a lot of effort in convincing their customers to return to their dive shop or marina year after year-- repeat business is good for business!   Unfortunately, when you boil it all down what's left?   MONEY!    

Rudy S Bonn
Marine Educator/Biologist
Miami, Florida

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