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

Julian @ Reef Check julian at reefcheck.org.my
Sun Apr 26 04:39:53 EDT 2015


I think you are right. While I agree with your Doug's last paragraph - get
the divers to be advocates to address the wider issues than simple diver
damage - I don't necessarily agree that the diving industry has converted
that many people to become part of the "enormous constituency that reefs
have". And that is perhaps at the heart of the argument that I (and others)
am making. 

Watching dive training in this part of the world, it's all about selling the
certificate, having your picture taken underwater ("v-sign", grin) and
that's it - too much emphasis on the fun aspects, not enough on the
education aspects - including reef conservation. So what COULD be an
enormous constituency isn't materialising, and I believe the industry is
partly to answer for that. 

What if, as well as selling them the cert, the industry actually did start
to take some responsibility and teach everyone about the impacts of their
LIFE on reefs - not just their dives, but their choice in take-home food
containers (no Styrofoam), their choice in transport (public vs private),
their consumption of utilities (switch off the tap when brushing teeth) -
all those little ways in which we can all make a difference very easily but
which are trivialised by so many? Why isn't the dive industry part of that?
Or is it not their job? 


Julian Hyde
General Manager
Reef Check Malaysia
03 2161 5948
Follow us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/rcmalaysia


"The bottom line of the Millenium Assessment findings is that human actions
are depleting Earth's natural capital, putting such strain on the
environment that the ability of the planet's ecosystems to sustain future
generations can no longer be taken for granted."

-----Original Message-----
From: coral-list-bounces at coral.aoml.noaa.gov
[mailto:coral-list-bounces at coral.aoml.noaa.gov] On Behalf Of Steve Mussman
Sent: Tuesday, 21 April, 2015 9:02 PM
To: Douglas Fenner
Cc: coral-list at coral.aoml.noaa.gov
Subject: Re: [Coral-List] Reassessing Coral Reefs: Reply To S. Mussman

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>
> 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
>> 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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