[Coral-List] Reassessing Coral Reefs: Reply To S. Mussman

Alevizon, William Stephen alevizonws at cofc.edu
Sat Apr 18 12:12:01 EDT 2015

Steve -

Re: your comment,  "But William, it's not humans as divers that are doing the most damage. It's a host of other human activities that are destroying the reefs."

First, I'd like to see some actual evidence that statement is true, at the scale of many heavily (by recreational divers) used localized reef sites.

Second, even if true, that does not mean that we can just ignore all but the most destructive cause(s), even if those could be unambiguously identified.

In the few instances (e.g., Saba, Bonaire, Cabo Pulmo) where diver numbers are strictly controlled, the benefits in terms of reef health have been well-documented.

But, while diver "awareness" and pre-dive briefings have been shown to reduce damage on a per diver basis in some (not all) cases, but such benefits are negated where the number of dives/year remains excessive.

In short, the dive industry and/or sport divers themselves cannot and will not effectively address the issue of too many divers on a reef. Only MPA management has the authority and means to control this most damaging impact of recreational diving.

William S. Alevizon

Research Associate

Dept. of Biology

College of Charleston

58 Coming St.

Charleston,  S.C. 29424


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