[Coral-List] Can anyone explain this?

Eugene Shinn eugeneshinn at mail.usf.edu
Fri Sep 20 16:10:36 EDT 2013

Roger Griffis, in response to my question, “can anyone explain this” 
said: “It appears you had another agenda in mind anyway.” True, I did 
have another agenda in mind. I just wanted to learn what coral-list 
readers thought or knew about the recent agreement between the Center 
for Biodiversity (CBD) and National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) and 
what it means? Do they know it means that NMFS agreed to pay the fees of 
the CBD lawyers who brought the suit. Did they know that when an NGO 
sues a government agency to do something and wins the agency has to pay 
the NGOs lawyers fees? That’s right! And its legal! My real concern is 
that in this case NMFS was in effect agreeing that CBD was correct in 
asserting that increasing CO2 levels and ocean acidification caused the 
Acropora dieback. We can give NMFS credit for resisting and not 
including that in the recovery plan. Besides, NMFS clearly has no 
control over CO2 levels and there is no scientific evidence of 
acidification of coral reef waters or that it is affecting coral growth. 
NMFS is caught between a rock and a hard place because there can be no 
recovery plan until it can be determined what caused the die back. What 
we should worry about is that they made a deal with CBD (paying the fees 
of CBD lawyers) and the coral will remain listed for no good reason.
Here is the problem with listing of any corals that we should worry 
about here in Florida: (1) we already have all coral species protected 
in NOAA Marine Sanctuaries (dept. of Commerce). (2) We already have 
protection for any corals that may occur in National Park areas i.e., 
Florida Bay, (dept. of Interior). (3) All corals have been protected in 
Pennecamp Park for more than 35 years (State of Florida), and (4) now 
these agencies must overlay NMFS endangered species regulations (a 
separate part of the dept. of Commerce) on top of all the other 
regulatory agencies. This has to be a poster child for bureaucratic 
excess and it won’t save any corals let alone discover what is causing 
diebacks. Besides, geology of the past few thousand years (not that deep 
time stuff) shows coral reefs have gone through natural cycles of boom 
and bust and there is no evidence this is not another cycle.
That CO2 and acidification has affected Acropora is eloquently disproven 
by the success Ken Nedimyer has had cultivating A. cervicornis. His 
corals are flurishing by the thousands within Sanctuary waters and at 
roughly twice the rate documented in the 1960s before the die-offs began 
in the late 1970s and early 1980s. Clearly CO2 and acidification is not 
affecting the growth of Acroporid corals in the Florida Keys. So, what 
is CBD up to other than lining the pockets of their lawyers and 
providing tax breaks for their contributors? Where is the science?
Thanks Roger for yanking my chain. Gene


No Rocks, No Water, No Ecosystem (EAS)
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E. A. Shinn, Courtesy Professor
University of South Florida
College of Marine Science Room 221A
140 Seventh Avenue South
St. Petersburg, FL 33701
<eugeneshinn at mail.usf.edu>
Tel 727 553-1158
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