[Coral-List] Spratly Island update
douglasfennertassi at gmail.com
Mon Jun 22 17:02:51 EDT 2015
Thanks, John. I was just thinking of how outraged some of us were with the
construction near the airport on Majuro in the Marshall Islands, which
deliberately destroyed coral there. That area was tiny, absolutely minute
compared to this in the South China Sea.
I've read that the other smaller nations have done some
island-building of their own in the South China Sea in the past, but that
the building China is doing is more than all they did combined. I believe
the US has asked the others to stop island building as well, if I remember
correctly. Island building on reefs like this that is so destructive to
fabulous reefs is outrageous, whoever does it. Here we are, we're all
doing our level best to save reefs against huge odds, and these people are
deliberately destroying reefs and saying that the damage is "localised,
temporary, controllable and restorable". If so, let international
scientists come in and take data and verify what you say. There is no way
they would allow that.
On Fri, Jun 19, 2015 at 6:14 AM, John McManus <jmcmanus at rsmas.miami.edu>
> Journalist Victor Robert Lee has just published an article with
> high-resolution comparative satellite images of some of the island-building
> sites in the Spratly Island Group
> f-chinas-subi-reef-reclamation/). Beginning with the second image, you can
> click on them for full resolution. They show that, as with Fiery Cross
> all near-surface portions of Subi Reef are now gone - permanently. Paving
> has begun.
> Large portions of Mischief Reef are now gone as well. Based on a rough
> measure of the mean diameter of 7 km from the undisturbed reef in Google
> Earth, it looks as if the loss covers more than 50 % of the perimeter of (7
> x Pi =) 22 km, or about 11 km. For an island width of roughly 0.5 km, that
> gives us a conservative estimate of permanent loss of roughly 5.5 square
> kilometers, or 5,500,000 square meters - all from just one of the seven
> islands being built. Of course, this does not include the immense damage to
> the lagoon from the dredging, and to the rest of the reef from the abrasive
> coral sands which have been stirred up.
> During my visit in the 1990's, the reefs in this area within the southern
> Spratly Islands were among the most amazing I had ever seen. Along one
> vertical wall, I hovered cross-legged for nearly an hour watching large
> schools of fish taking turns zipping by along diagonal lines upwards and
> downwards, as if I was watching traffic on a busy intersection. At one
> point, everything got quite dark. I assumed a very dark cloud had blocked
> the sun. I was too busy watching the reaction of the fish to look up.
> my dive buddy who had been stationed above, told me that the darkness was
> due to the passage overhead of an enormous school of hammerhead sharks.
> This week, the relevant government announced that the island-building will
> end soon, and that it will focus on building up infrastructure on the new
> islands. It stated "Impact on coral reef ecology is localised, temporary,
> controllable and restorable."
> John W. McManus, PhD
> Director, National Center for Coral Reef Research (NCORE)
> Professor, Marine Biology and Ecology
> Coral Reef Ecology and Management Lab (CREM Lab)
> Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science (RSMAS)
> University of Miami, 4600 Rickenbacker Causeway, Miami, 33149
> <mailto:jmcmanus at rsmas.miami.edu> jmcmanus at rsmas.miami.edu
> <http://ncore.rsmas.miami.edu/> http://ncore.rsmas.miami.edu/
> "If you lose a diamond ring in the bedroom, don't look for it in the living
> room just because the light there is better".
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