[Coral-List] political arguments on coral-list

Eugene Shinn eugeneshinn at mail.usf.edu
Tue May 20 16:33:18 EDT 2014

Thank you Chris and Daphne. Yes it is a contact sport but one we have 
all  created. I well remember when the coral-list began. It was for 
scientists trading technical information...then it began to change and 
it started to bother some that so much space was used advertising reef 
management jobs and the like.  When climate and acidification became an 
issue things became even more political and complicated. I might mention 
here that global warming came after the 1970s when Steve Schneider was 
predicting we were headed into another ice age. The problem I constantly 
worry about is that NOAA, which claims to be a 
technical/science-oriented agency, sponsors the coral-list. At the same 
time the Coral reef Sanctuaries are part of NOAA and they are mainly 
about management/enforcement. Both are under the dept. of Commerce so 
that adds another level of restraints and unintended consequences. What 
if science uncovers a problem, for example that aerial spraying of 
mosquito pesticides is harming the reef, would that activity is made 
illegal? Not likely because it would drastically affect the 
Economy/Commerce of the Florida Keys. Another example would be 
sunscreen, which some published research suggest causes coral bleaching. 
(The stuff is banned in Mexican coral reef parks) If NOAA/dept. of 
Commerce banned sunscreen in the Keys might they be accused of promoting 
more skin cancers? The tourism/economy would certainly be affected. We 
can't have that. There are many such examples because the economy of the 
keys is greatly dependent on natural resources such as the 
fishing/lobster industry. Again the same political problem! The 
Sanctuary controls those activities by enforcing rules set up by another 
NOAA agency, National Marine Fisheries. And right next door is 
Everglades National Park, which is the dept. of Interior with a very 
different philosophy. Mosquito spraying is not allowed on their property 
and they have their own fishery rules/regulations and enforcement 
officers.  And lets not forget Fish and Wildlife Service, yet another 
part of the dept. of Interior. And of course there are the State Parks 
such as Pennekamp. See what a convoluted political situation we have! We 
just do it to ourselves. Does anyone really expect all these diverse 
parts of government to operate seamlessly especially at their 
headquarters back in Washington DC where each is constantly trying to 
increase its funding and influence?  It's clear we can't take politics 
out of coral reef science and research. A friend of mine used to say the 
definition of mixed emotions is when your mother in law drives your new 
Cadillac over a cliff. We certainly seem to have created a lot of mixed 
emotions to deal with. 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
<eugeneshinn at mail.usf.edu>
Tel 727 553-1158
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