[Coral-List] NOAA lists 20 new corals

Bruno, John jbruno at unc.edu
Wed Sep 10 18:38:40 EDT 2014

Dear Walt Smith,

There is a lot of misinformation about the listing being disseminated on the here.  Thankfully Jennifer Moore and others are beginning to correct some of it.  I thought I’d correct just a few of the false statements you made.

My statement of no scientific evidence to support their
claims was based on the fact that the group spearheading this campaign (CBD)
is made up of over 70 lawyers trying to find ways to put the pet industry
out of business based on an emotional agenda and ignoring legitimate, well
researched scientific data. There is not one coral reef scientist on their
board nor have they consulted any.

1) I bet they wish they had a staff of 70 attorneys!  You can see their staff here:  http://www.biologicaldiversity.org/about/staff/
Roughly 22 attorneys are employed by CBD (and many of them work in executive / admin positions).  Numerous scientists, policy experts, campaign and outreach staff, etc also work at CBD.

2) CBD employees have no interest in “putting the pet industry out of business”.  I know for a fact some of them even have cats and dogs at home!  You can learn about CBD’s guiding objectives here: http://www.biologicaldiversity.org/about/index.html

3) The CBD coral petition was launched in response to calls from the scientific and conservation communities for listing coral species, e.g., Precht et al 2004.

Precht, W. F., M. L. Robbart, and R. B. Aronson. 2004. The potential listing of Acropora species under the US Endangered Species Act. Marine Pollution Bulletin 49:534–536.

If you read the petition and NOAAs thorough report on it, you will see it is indeed based on extensive science.

There is a TON of factual information about the process, underlying science, dissenting views, etc. here: http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/stories/2012/11/82corals.html

See some of the resources from the science review workshops here:  http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/stories/2012/07/07_corals_presentations_page.html

And look at the Status Review Report:  http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/stories/2012/05/07_coral_documents_page.html

and several in depth reviews of the status report, e.g.; http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/stories/2012/04/docs/review_of_noaa_status_review_report_hughes.pdf

4) There is indeed one coral reef scientist on their board.  Me. I have served on the board of CBDs Climate Law Institute since 2011.

5) Coral reef scientist have been consulted extensively throughout the process, both by NOAA and CBD.

I know this is complex and means change and nobody agrees with every decision that has been made.  But moving forward, it would be helpful if we based our dialogue on establish fact.



John Bruno
Professor, Dept of Biology
UNC Chapel Hill

More information about the Coral-List mailing list