[Coral-List] conservation vs wildlife viewing/interaction

Steve Mussman sealab at earthlink.net
Thu Apr 30 13:04:35 EDT 2015

   Dear Ellen,
   Sorry  if I misinterpreted your message, but let me point out that the
   businesses in the Crystal River area were initially not thrilled with the
   idea of Federal and State authorities coming in and setting up sanctuaries
   limiting access to the manatees. However, in hindsight  those protections
   and others related to their listing as endangered species has brought the
   manatees back to the point that there is consideration of moving them to
   threatened  status. This is a positive step that never would have been
   accomplished had business interests in the area been allowed to carry on
   doing  business  as  usual. They had to confront the issue head on and
   sacrifice short-term financial considerations for long-term survival. Maybe
   that is the message that the diving industry needs to hear. The first step
   in dealing effectively with any crisis is to accurately assess the problem
   at hand and then develop strategies to counteract it. There is no guarantee
   that we can reverse trends, but in my opinion lingering in denial will most
   likely seal the fate of both the reefs and the diving industry.

     -----Original Message-----
     From: Ellen Prager
     Sent: Apr 29, 2015 4:12 PM
     To: Steve Mussman
     Cc: "coral-list at coral.aoml.noaa.gov"
     Subject: Re: [Coral-List] conservation vs wildlife viewing/interaction

   I think you misunderstood. I wrote that the diving industry needs to educate
   their divers, just as we were educated about the right way to observe the
   manatees. I agree totally with you. My point was that the diving industry is
   not going to widely promote the idea that reefs are dying or dead to the
   public or their divers - that would ruin their business.


   On Apr 29, 2015, at 4:04 PM, Steve Mussman <[1]sealab at earthlink.net> wrote:

     Dear Ellen,
     I'd like to use the example you provided relating to manatees to make a
     counter point. I see no reason why the diving industry can't educate
     divers about coral reefs in the same way that you were educated about
     manatees before you entered the water at Crystal River. Everyone who dives
     there should learn about the nature and extent of the threats to manatees.
     In the same way, everyone who dives on a coral reef should learn about
     what  is threatening them as well. Manatees would have no chance of
     survival if we took the position that boating businesses in the area
     should not have to observe idle speed limits because its bad for business.
     Thankfully most reefs are not yet dead, but if we don't raise awareness
     and change some things their future is uncertain at best. The point of it
     all is that if coral reefs continue to decline as they have over the last
     thirty  years  the diving industry will have an even bigger problem
     maintaining  their  customer base. A manatee hug goes a long way in
     developing concern for the species. Coral reefs can't reach out in that
     way, but we in the diving industry have a responsibility to somehow
     develop concern for their protection as well. Avoiding the subject or
     giving the industry a pass because of the delicate balance in which they
     operate  will  only  serve  to further seal the fate of coral reefs
     world-wide. Then the $$$$$ incentive for the industry will be gone along
     with our reefs. I think its better to find a way, delicate or not, to save
     -----Original Message-----

     From: Ellen Prager <[2]pragere at earthlink.net>
     Sent: Apr 29, 2015 10:22 AM
     To: "[3]coral-list at coral.aoml.noaa.gov"
     <[4]coral-list at coral.aoml.noaa.gov>
     Subject: [Coral-List] conservation vs wildlife viewing/interaction
     Dear coral listers
     Thought some of you might appreciate my blog about finding a balance
     between   wildlife   conservation   and   viewing/  interaction  at
     This also pertains to the diving industry and coral reefs. I've been
     following the ongoing discussions here. Yes, I believe the diving industry
     needs to educate divers about proper diving behavior and conserving coral
     reefs. And I'd love to see the diving industry become more active in
     promoting conservation.. However, it is a delicate balance for them. If
     dive operators go around saying coral reefs are dead or dying, they will
     lose the customer base that keeps them in operation and gives them access
     to divers to educate them. And we lose the economic incentives from the
     tourist industry for regional managers and policymakers to invest in
     better coral reef protection.
     I'd love to think that everyone loves coral reefs and wants to protect
     them for scientific, ecologic, or ethical reasonsâ¦.but $$$$$ are an
     incentive we cannot afford to lose.
     Dr. Ellen Prager
     Earth2Ocean, Inc
     Coral-List mailing list
     [6]Coral-List at coral.aoml.noaa.gov


   1. mailto:sealab at earthlink.net
   2. mailto:pragere at earthlink.net
   3. mailto:coral-list at coral.aoml.noaa.gov
   4. mailto:coral-list at coral.aoml.noaa.gov
   5. http://mission-blue.org/2015/04/the-manatees-hug/
   6. mailto:Coral-List at coral.aoml.noaa.gov

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