[Coral-List] Blue Alert

Peter Sale sale at uwindsor.ca
Sat Nov 21 15:11:43 EST 2015

Steve, and List,
Sounds like your dive industry colleagues are playing hard to get.
Asking if there are any recent studies that contradict what appears to be the prevailing consensus among marine biologists that coral reefs are increasingly being threatened by land-based pollutants, over-fishing and climate change is almost like asking if there are any papers that report that the sky is not blue.  There may be differing opinions on how big 'increasingly' is,but even there, I doubt there are any scientists who think the human impacts on reefs are uniform across the globe.  Are there specific places that are not affected by each of these?  Yes for pollution and over-fishing, but no for climate change or acidification.  So the literature cannot help you much with this request.

Are there quantitative studies of the economic value of reefs, and the loss of value if they are degraded? Yes, there are.  I do not have specific references at hand,but others will surely suggest some.  One difficulty you will have convincing your colleagues, however, is that reefs are a shared resource.  There is no direct and immediate benefit for one operator to modify practices to be environmentally sustainable, unless he/she is operating in a location or business niche in which the clients will make decisions based on evident greenness of competing operators.  And there is always the nasty reality that the majority of sport divers cannot tell the difference between a rich reef and a dead one.  If it has great topography, and myriad fish swimming about it can yield a great dive experience.

You may have to settle for building communication and collaboration in marketing among the minority (?) of operators who actually get the fact that the places they love are at risk if we do not all mend our ways.  Hotels advertise their environmental sustainability (not always honestly) as part of their marketing; why shouldn't dive operators do the same?

Peter Sale

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Today's Topics:

   1. Blue Alert - Have You Seen Any Studies? (Steve Mussman)


Message: 1
Date: Fri, 20 Nov 2015 10:03:29 -0500 (EST)
From: Steve Mussman <sealab at earthlink.net>
Subject: [Coral-List] Blue Alert - Have You Seen Any Studies?
To: "coral-list at coral.aoml.noaa.gov" <coral-list at coral.aoml.noaa.gov>
        <32681970.1448031810829.JavaMail.root at wamui-mosaic.atl.sa.earthlink..net>

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Dear Listers,
 I am trying to find any examples of well-performed, peer reviewed scientific studies that relate to two specific areas of interest. One is quite simple. Have there been any studies published that contradict what appears to be the prevailing consensus among marine biologists that coral reefs are increasingly being threatened by land-based pollutants, over-fishing and climate change? It seems to be almost impossible to quantify the exact degree to which there is a scientific consensus, so I would like to know if there have been any papers published that seem to challenge the theory. The second request is a bit more complicated. Are there any studies out there that might apply to this concept? I'm looking for projections that take into account the current rate of coral reef decline and link that to corresponding expectations regarding economic impacts that specify the diving and dive tourism industries. Something that might answer the question of what are the likely costs (in t
 erms such as net present value, return on investment, consumer demand, etc) of continuing to do business as usual i.e., continuing without aggressively addressing the underlying threats. Any help or suggestions would be greatly appreciated.   Thank you in advance, Steve Mussman


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