[Coral-List] New (old) way to murder a coral reef

Douglas Fenner douglasfennertassi at gmail.com
Sun Apr 26 21:41:23 EDT 2015

     In my own personal opinion, I very much doubt the US is going to walk
away from the Diego Garcia military base.  They have spent billions on it,
suggesting to me that they consider it important.  I would think that it is
considered a geopolitically strategic military base, and given the
instability of the Middle East, I'd be amazed if they left.  My guess is
that the US and UK both want the base to remain.  That's just a guess,
maybe when the base lease comes up for renewal, they will say they don't
want or need it anymore.  But I personally think that is extremely
unlikely, and wishful thinking.  I certainly wish for peace, but I don't
think that's a realistic likelihood anytime in the near future.
      I got to do some diving at Diego Garcia as part of an expedition last
year.  I saw reefs that looked pretty healthy to me.  The reefs there are
certainly not all trashed or murdered.  There is a picture on the cover of
the new Reef Encounter, taken at Diego Garcia, in case anyone would like to
see what they look like.  Open access.  That photo shows much less coral
than much of the reefs there have, I saw lots of healthy looking tables 10
feet or more in diameter.  The reefs throughout Chagos including Diego
Garcia were hit hard by the mass coral bleaching in 1998, and a lot of
coral was killed.  But coral has increased dramatically since then,
particularly table corals which have grown fast.  This is as much true on
Diego Garcia as other parts of Chagos, and I saw lots of big table corals
in Diego Garcia on some of the knolls in the lagoon.  Figure 5 in Sheppard
et al. 2012 shows just as high coral cover on Diego Garcia as on the other
atolls, as of 2006.  On page 248, there is a review of the studies of
chemical contamination on Diego Garcia and the rest of the archipelago.
That section begins with, and I quote, "Extensive pollution monitoring
takes place in Diego Garcia. ‘Final Governing Standards’ and routine procedures
require regular analyses in US laboratories of over 100 metals and organic
substances according to US operating procedures. Almost all analyses report
levels below detectable or reporting limits."  The last sentence says, "In
summary, from a chemical contaminant perspective, the marine
environment  surrounding
the Chagos Archipelago can be considered to be near pristine and in
chemical pollution terms, Diego Garcia is likely to be the cleanest
inhabited atoll in the world."
      By the way, the airport runway was not built on virgin forest, it was
built on the old plantation, where almost nothing of the original forest
was left.

      Cheers,  Doug

Sheppard, C.R.C. and 39 co-authors.  2012.  Reefs and islands of the Chagos
Archipelago, Indian Ocean: why it is the world's largest no-take marine
protected area.  Aquatic Conservation: Marine and Freshwater Ecosystems 22:
232-261.    (check Google Scholar)

On Sat, Apr 11, 2015 at 4:51 AM, Magnus Johnson <m.johnson at hull.ac.uk>

> I absolutely agree - The situation with Mauritius is quite tense.  The US
> should leave Diego Garcia now unless the Chagossians choose to keep them
> there.  The UK should transport Chagossians back to their homeland and pay
> them significant compensation.  The Chagossians should determine the
> conservation of their waters.  The world should support them and the
> sustained conservation of Chagos and surrounding waters on a legitimate
> footing.
> http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/the-chagossians-the-indian-ocean-islanders-exiled-from-their-home-and-struggling-to-make-ends-meet-in-britain-10169107.html
> Coral reef conservation cannot be sustainable in a political, moral and
> legal vacuum.  We cannot pretend to hold the moral high ground and
> encourage or demand better behaviour when our behaviours and inabilities to
> conserve our own back yards are and have been at times is just as bad as
> that of China.
> "How is it that supposed experts and "guardians of nature" come here after
> having failed to conserve trees and wildlife in their places of origin?"
> (Maasai community leader; from Dowie 2011, Conservation Refugees)
>  ________________________________________
> From: Phil Dustan [dustanp at cofc.edu]
> Sent: 10 April 2015 15:23
> To: Magnus  Johnson
> Cc: Coral List
> Subject: Re: [Coral-List] New (old) way to murder a coral reef
> Magnus,
>   So Just because a bunch of reefs have been murdered by military powers
> over time there is no reason to take the destruction to new and higher
> levels on purpose, especially when it is in violation of international law
> and aggravates an already tense political problem (
> http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/04/10/us-china-southchinasea-reach-idUSKBN0N10YJ20150410
> ).
> On Thu, Apr 9, 2015 at 12:29 PM, Magnus Johnson <m.johnson at hull.ac.uk
> <mailto:m.johnson at hull.ac.uk>> wrote:
> People in glass houses . . . .
> https://urldefense.proofpoint.com/v2/url?u=https-3A__www.google.co.uk_maps_place_Diego-2BGarcia-2BMilitary-2BBase_-40-2D7.3914155-2C72.4053261-2C61220m_data-3D-213m1-211e3-214m2-213m1-211s0x2492724c04a8a721-3A0xbce8b282922bb016&d=AwIFAg&c=7MSSWy9Bs2yocjNQzurxOQ&r=mxnjGj1-K1cYCH-JH1g-7Q&m=yzWpp1zsQBYO6fwtFB7R0j7PJl0TyzMzAGigu1jlOKQ&s=jcitp4LPn5shs-8B1hkgtlb__jTC49lsUbNoFcYYJcM&e=
> (UK & US: disputed territory, damage to reefs and wildlife, unlicensed
> fishing, riding roughshod over international conventions)
> ________________________________________
> ________________________________________
> From: Phil Dustan [dustanp at cofc.edu<mailto:dustanp at cofc.edu>]
> Sent: 09 April 2015 10:44
> To: Coral List
> Subject: [Coral-List] New way to murder a coral reef
> Greetings Listers,
>  While we ponder the ways of the diving industry the Chinese have taken
> reef destruction to another dimension in the South China Sea:
> https://urldefense.proofpoint.com/v2/url?u=http-3A__www.scmp.com_news_asia_article_1761516_satellite-2Dphotos-2Dshow-2Dchina-2Dreclaiming-2Dland-2Daround-2Ddisputed-2Dmischief-2Dreef&d=AwIFAg&c=7MSSWy9Bs2yocjNQzurxOQ&r=mxnjGj1-K1cYCH-JH1g-7Q&m=yzWpp1zsQBYO6fwtFB7R0j7PJl0TyzMzAGigu1jlOKQ&s=wuvvHFgAUejwRDjUAXbyDMZOaftEKQHi4u_cjiQoWNc&e=
> --
> Phillip Dustan
> Department of Biology
> College of Charleston
> Charleston SC  20401
> Charleston SC
> 843 953 8086<tel:843%20953%208086> (voice)
> 843-224-3321<tel:843-224-3321> (m)
> "When we try to pick out anything by itself
> we find that it is bound fast by a thousand invisible cords
> that cannot be broken, to everything in the universe. "
> *                                         John Muir 1869*
> _______________________________________________
> Coral-List mailing list
> Coral-List at coral.aoml.noaa.gov<mailto:Coral-List at coral.aoml.noaa.gov>
> https://urldefense.proofpoint.com/v2/url?u=http-3A__coral.aoml.noaa.gov_mailman_listinfo_coral-2Dlist&d=AwIFAg&c=7MSSWy9Bs2yocjNQzurxOQ&r=mxnjGj1-K1cYCH-JH1g-7Q&m=yzWpp1zsQBYO6fwtFB7R0j7PJl0TyzMzAGigu1jlOKQ&s=w8gPbm47v8DE7xxSkGCLJTsW52YnKsjqVQGQO795NXc&e=
> --
> Phillip Dustan
> Department of Biology
> College of Charleston
> Charleston SC  20401
> Charleston SC
> 843 953 8086 (voice)
> 843-224-3321 (m)
> "When we try to pick out anything by itself
> we find that it is bound fast by a thousand invisible cords
> that cannot be broken, to everything in the universe. "
>                                          John Muir 1869
> **************************************************
> To view the terms under which this email is
> distributed, please go to
> http://www2.hull.ac.uk/legal/disclaimer.aspx
> **************************************************
> _______________________________________________
> Coral-List mailing list
> Coral-List at coral.aoml.noaa.gov
> http://coral.aoml.noaa.gov/mailman/listinfo/coral-list

Douglas Fenner
Contractor with Ocean Associates, Inc.
PO Box 7390
Pago Pago, American Samoa 96799  USA

phone 1 684 622-7084

"belief in climate change is optional, participation is not."

Politics, science, and public attitudes: What we're learning, and why it
matters.  Science Insider, open access.


Homeopathy ineffective, study confirms.


website:  http://independent.academia.edu/DouglasFenner

blog: http://ocean.si.edu/blog/reefs-american-samoa-story-hope

More information about the Coral-List mailing list