[Coral-List] NOAA lists 20 new corals

Steve Mussman sealab at earthlink.net
Mon Sep 8 12:09:39 EDT 2014

   Hi Peter,
   Excellent analysis as usual. It is getting more and more difficult to retain
   any realistic hope that we will turn this ship around in time, but I have to
   point  out  that even  though  the actions of the CBD and NOAA are not
   necessarily the silver bullet that will save the world's coral reefs, at
   least  they  are  modeling behaviors that go beyond as you put it  . .
   .  devolving into meaningless discussions. In my opinion, reactions to the
   ESA listings are telling. Instead of seizing on the moment to emphasize the
   extent of the problem we prefer to point out deficiencies in the mechanism.
   No wonder there is little evidence of public concern. Instead of rallying
   behind the effort, we reinforce complacency by going to great lengths to
   point  out any and  all  shortcomings even when it is obvious that the
   efforts were initiated to help draw much needed attention to the dire nature
   of the problem at hand. It may be frustrating to think that we are still at
   the  point of needing to develop a popular consensus that this problem
   exists,  but  more  importantly,  we  need  to take a hard look at our
   own contributions to the confusion. When I am told by scientists that it
   doesn't do a damn bit of good to list 20 more coral species as threatened I
   am no longer bewildered by the fact that many sport divers can't tell a live
   coral reef from a dead one. After all, why bother?


   >From: Peter Sale
   >Sent: Sep 6, 2014 5:04 PM
   >To: coral-list at coral.aoml.noaa.gov
   >Subject: Re: [Coral-List] NOAA lists 20 new corals
   >Hi Listers,
   >As usual, I have been reading but not commenting. Seems to be lots of
   >confusion around the news that NOAA has designated 20 species of corals
   >that occur in US waters (including US protectorates, or whatever the
   >politically correct word for colony is) waters.
   >Some are irritated that CBD generated a list of 80 species and that this
   >action obliged NOAA to spend time and money doing the mandatory
   >assessments required that ultimately led to the list of 30 species
   >announced. Apparently people should not generate work for government
   >agencies set up to do that work.
   >Some are concerned that the species may not be easily identified, or
   >perhaps have been mis-identified, and therefore may not even be
   >endangered. Some think that this means that genetic analyses need to be
   >done to be sure that these are indeed valid species, correctly identified
   >(the assumption here, apparently, is that a genetic analysis is the only
   >one that can determine if a species is a species).
   >Some seem irritated that NOAA has only identified 20 species, because
   >surely more are endangered.
   >Few if any (I don't think I saw any) have reflected on what designation by
   >NOAA means for the future well-being of these species.
   >Everyone who wrote on this topic should read Gene Shinn's comments made
   >today. They were a breath of fresh air.
   >So far as I understand it, by designating certain corals as threatened,
   >NOAA is now obligated to develop management plans for each; plans that
   >will help to avoid their eventual loss from US waters. This might have
   >value if the management plans include actions that will attack the factors
   >causing the declines in these species. I don't hold my breath on this,
   >because the plans are not yet developed, and the reasons for coral decline
   >are many and sometimes not easily remedied with local action. Still, it
   >is possible that some good could come from these designations.
   >That NOAA, once required to assess some 80 species of coral, identified 20
   >that were worthy of listing as endangered is further evidence of the
   >perilous state of coral reef systems -- a fact that most readers of
   >coral-list will not find surprising. It is a fact that many of us have
   >been stating repeatedly, and in any forum available, for some time now.
   >And still the world goes on complacently, unconcerned. These 20 species,
   >correctly identified or not, are just a symbol of the plight of coral
   >reefs worldwide. It is clear that we have not been articulating the
   >problem effectively enough to break through the general unconcern. As
   >Gene Shinn remarked, most sport divers do not appear to know the
   >difference between a living reef and a dead one, and we need to become
   >more effective if we really want the fate of coral reefs recognized.
   >And while we are about it, let's remember that the coral reefs are just
   >one of the canaries in our particular mine. Just as human activities are
   >causing major changes to coral reefs, we are causing major changes to the
   >oceans in general, as well as to the Arctic and many terrestrial systems
   >as well. We seem not to notice the pressure we place on the planet's
   >ecological systems, caused by way too many of us, using way too much
   >stuff, We seem reluctant to ever curtail our enthusiasm for using stuff.
   >We seem capable of devolving into meaningless discussion, much at cross
   >purposes, when something like the formal designation of 20 species of
   >corals occurs, instead of articulating, clearly, that this is simply
   >further evidence of the damage we are doing. And we do not seem very
   >interested in stopping our bad behavior.
   >Peter Sale
   >sale at uwindsor.ca @PeterSale3
   >www..uwindsor.ca/sale www.petersalebooks.com
   >Coral-List mailing list
   >Coral-List at coral.aoml.noaa.gov

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