[Coral-List] Why we are failing to repair coral reefs

Nicole Crane nicrane at cabrillo.edu
Tue Oct 21 16:39:38 EDT 2014

A critical moment indeed, with the rapid ecological and cultural changes 
befalling so many places and the people who live there.

Every place has its unique cultural and environmental circumstances, and 
people have unique needs and capacities to embrace sustainability.  We 
seem to have hit on a blossoming model/approach in the Western Pacific 
that is taking off.  We have been combining social science with 
ecological approaches to work with communities directly.  We survey 
reefs and explain what we see to the people. We also collect as much 
information as possible about traditional management and fishing, and 
how things have changed.  We tie the ecological picture with the 
cultural one and identify connectors that can help serve as management 
initiators.  here's an example: We notice low populations of parrotfish, 
few terminal males, and algal overgrowth on a reef. We learn people are 
spearfishing at night for (mostly male) parrotfish.  Traditionally those 
kinds of spears were not used, and currently closed areas are not being 
enforced.  This is a classic ecological/management story, and when we 
sat together with the people and told it - how the 'new' spears and lack 
of enforcement of closed areas (breakdown of traditional management) 
were likely contributing to problems with fish catch as well as 
ecological stress on the reefs (which they see), it made perfect sense 
to them.  We do not suggest management, other than pointing out what the 
lack of it may be contributing to.  Rather, we emphasize the rate of 
decline, and how they, as stewards and users of these systems, are the 
key to sustaining them and the culture that was built around them.  They 
are turning from complacent (although aware of the issues) to active 
stewards and leaders for the cause. Whole communities are galvanizing 
around sustainable management and, it appears to be working.  We have 
seen (and heard from them) that management is bringing back fish.  We 
are currently monitoring this.  They are also collecting data on landed 
fish, more than 25,000 of them so far.  The word has spread throughout 
the Yap outer islands, and maybe, just maybe, a regional movement is 
beginning.  One way to spread it is to have something like this 
highlighted at (for example) the 2016 IUCN congress in 
Hawaii...sometimes motivation can spread from an energized kernal...

See our work at onepeopleonereef.ucsc.edu  and on facebook at One People 
One Reef

Nicole Crane
nicrane at cabrillo.edu
Faculty, Cabrillo College, CA
Senior Conservation Scientist, Oceanic Society

On 10/21/14, 10:44 AM, Jim Harper wrote:
> Peter Sale,
> Thanks for this posting of genuine concern, and for concluding in the essay that we "have a moral obligation to join forces.” That statement identifies two problems: that scientists try to practice impartial, amoral science, and that individuals think they are right (myself included). The coral crisis has shifted rapidly into a highly moral, civil rights issue. Scientists are not prepared for that. Its scale also demands collaboration outside of science, and outside of technical solutions. Scientists are not prepared for that. We have to find ways to bridge the gap from a technical problem to a moral solution.
> My perspective, as a new social scientist and experienced journalist, is that there is no “movement” for coral reefs. There are lots of scientists and organizations and plans, but there is no integrated strategy to win (reefs have been losing for decades). We need to copy winning strategies and build a movement that targets centers of power/agents of change. For example, the Rainforest Alliance "harnesses market forces as part of its strategy to arrest the major drivers of deforestation and environmental destruction: timber extraction, agricultural expansion, cattle ranching and tourism (Wikipedia).” Where is the integrated strategy for seafood, shipping, diving, etc.? And especially for tourism and fossil fuel? If don’t see it, and I really care about it, so how can the general citizens connect, when they already have the “out of mind” mentality?
> My attempt at a solution is to create a regional organization for Caribbean reefs, but I don’t know how to fund it (same old problem). But If I could magically accomplish one step today, I would put a parrotfish on every Coke can. This symbol will launch millions of conversations, and that energy will force a movement to emerge. That’s all I’m saying; we need a new movement.
>     Jim W. Harper
> New Nonprofit Plan: Caribbean Reef SOS (http://crsos.org)
> New Resume: http://www.harperfish.com
> New M.S. in Environmental Studies ’14; M.A. '96
> Same cell in Miami: 786-423-2665
> On Oct 21, 2014, at 8:15 AM, coral-list-request at coral.aoml.noaa.gov wrote:
>> Message: 4
>> Date: Mon, 20 Oct 2014 13:02:40 -0400
>> From: Peter Sale <sale at uwindsor.ca>
>> Subject: [Coral-List] Why we are failing to repair coral reefs
>> To: coral-list at coral.aoml.noaa.gov
>> Message-ID:
>> 	<OF55193349.1D6BE91D-ON85257D77.005C7CEA-85257D77.005DA1BF at uwindsor.ca>
>> Content-Type: text/plain; charset="US-ASCII"
>> Hi,
>> I recently penned a comment on why we are, for the most part, failing in
>> our efforts to repair and sustain coral reefs, despite the efforts of many
>> dedicated and hard-working people.  It appeared in Reef Encounter, the
>> on-line news journal of ISRS, and many readers of this list will have seen
>> it already.  Thinking it might be worth wider dissemination, I've now put
>> it up on my blog, with some pretty pictures attached.  You can access the
>> blog at www.petersalebooks.com/?p=1708  and you can see the original in
>> Reef Encounter which can be downloaded from the ISRS website at
>> http://coralreefs.org/  Reef Encounter has lots of interesting content
>> (perhaps even more interesting than my comment)!
>> If you are a member of ISRS, you could also think of nominating someone to
>> the ISRS Council, and if you are not a member, think about joining this
>> international coral reef science community.
>> Peter Sale
>> sale at uwindsor.ca                 @PeterSale3
>> www.uwindsor.ca/sale           www.petersalebooks.com
>     Jim W. Harper
> New Nonprofit Plan: Caribbean Reef SOS (http://crsos.org)
> New Resume: http://www.harperfish.com
> New M.S. in Environmental Studies ’14; M.A. '96
> Same cell in Miami: 786-423-2665
> _______________________________________________
> Coral-List mailing list
> Coral-List at coral.aoml.noaa.gov
> http://coral.aoml.noaa.gov/mailman/listinfo/coral-list

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