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

Steve Mussman sealab at earthlink.net
Tue Apr 21 09:02:25 EDT 2015

Let's be clear about this. The dive industry isn't an incorrigible evil. But in order to mobilize divers as a constituency to help reduce human impacts on coral reefs we must have leadership that prioritizes this as a goal. At this critical time the leadership (DEMA) is  not fulfilling this role. If anything, they are active participants in fostering inaction on the major issues involved. There in lies the irony and the tragedy of what we are witnessing.. The potential good that divers and the diving industry COULD DO is being systematically blocked by misguided priorities. This situation relates directly to an old slogan. You are either part of the solution or you are part of the problem. For now, the dive industry has chosen the latter. I'll take my hat off to the dive industry as soon as they correct this glaring disparity. 

Sent from my iPhone

> On Apr 20, 2015, at 9:56 PM, Douglas Fenner <douglasfennertassi at gmail.com> wrote:
> I should also say that we all owe a huge debt to the dive industry, for
> building a constituency for coral reefs (as well as teaching us how to dive
> and the beauty of reefs).  Anybody who has been diving on a reef has begun
> to see the beauty and appreciate this incredible ecosystem.  People spend
> billions of dollars to go see reefs, that tells me that they value them.
> Coral reefs have charisma, and if there is anything that can save them,
> that is the one thing that will make it happen.  People who write popular
> articles, publish pictures, or make films about coral reefs are all divers,
> without diving we would have none of that.  And it reaches an enormous
> number of people, all over the world.  Anyone who watches one of those
> beautiful movies of reefs is captivated, and they become part of an
> enormous constituency that reefs have.  Scientific divers are a very small
> proportion of all divers.
>   So we all owe a huge debt to the diving industry, and if we could start
> to mobilize more of that constituency to demand reductions in all types of
> human-caused damage to coral reefs, we could do a LOT more to save them.
> But my hat's off to the diving industry for this.
>    Cheers,  Doug
> On Mon, Apr 20, 2015 at 11:22 AM, Douglas Fenner <
> douglasfennertassi at gmail.com> wrote:
>> My statement wasn't meant to apply to just the heavily dived areas.  It
>> was meant to apply to the world's coral reefs as a whole.  Most of which
>> have very few if any divers ever.  Diving is concentrated in tiny areas,
>> compared to the size of the world's reefs, though when you're diving there,
>> they may not seem tiny.
>>     I have no doubt that in many heavily dived areas, there is
>> significant diver damage, I don't dispute that, and I support reducing it..
>> I have, however, seen corals recovering from hurricane (Gilbert) damage in
>> Cozumel in spite of 2000 dives a day on 15 miles of reef.  That tells me
>> that diving was much less damaging than the hurricane was.  That may not be
>> a common experience around areas of heavy diver usage, and may in part be
>> due to the currents and drift diving which may reduce diver contact in
>> Cozumel.
>>     An awful lot of reef that has little or no diving has been going
>> downhill.  Much of the Caribbean, and now the Great Barrier Reef are
>> outstanding examples.  The primary cause of initial Caribbean decline was
>> white band disease on Acropora.  We don't know the cause of that, but it
>> wasn't divers, the disease killed corals in places with no divers.  The

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