[Coral-List] 1. Reef values and can we affect what happens in Paris? (Sheppard, Charles)

Kelley Anderson kelleyand at gmail.com
Fri Nov 27 14:44:28 EST 2015

Talofa Coral Listers,

I read Charles Sheppard's comment with interest, and agree that monetary
values may be a path towards conservation of reefs, and nature in general.
I have two short items to contribute in the same vein:

One item directly relates to Charles's point of how to catch the attention
of economists with such small numbers for reef value; my suggestion is to
broaden our horizons and include fisheries numbers as well, since estimates
reach up to the 80% range in terms of how many species of fish rely on
reefs in some way.  If we do that, we can claim numbers like those reported
in the last FAO State of Fisheries and Aquaculture 2014 report, e.g. "FAO
estimates that fisheries and aquaculture support the livelihoods of 10–12
percent of the world’s population."

Another item that relates to Charles's post is the need to reach out in
media-savvy ways to get the message out.  I reached out to ISRS to propose
holding a video competition based on the message of climate change impacts
to reefs, as a follow up to the ISRS Consensus Statement.  This will be a
student competition with the finalists being announced at the 2016 ICRS.
While students may not be as professionally savvy as the advertisers
Charles mentions, many of them grew up with social media technology and are
well versed in what makes a video catchy enough to "go viral."  This video
competition is a path toward educating our youth about the science behind
this issue, while drawing from a group of students who may not be otherwise
scientifically inclined.  And who knows what the impact of a viral video
could be, maybe the next "ice bucket challenge" viral video success will be
for coral reefs!

If you are interested/willing to assist in organizing the video competition
please email me at KelleyAT at hawaii.edu

With thanks,
Kelley Anderson Tagarino

> Content-Type: text/plain; charset="Windows-1252"
> Dear colleagues
> I strongly support the ISRS consensus statement on coral reefs of course,
> though we have to wonder whether it will do much good and, if we have
> doubts, how we can change things so that we can make it will?  Its second
> sentence says:  ?They provide goods and services worth at least US$30
> billion per year (and possibly much more)?.  Well, that means coral reefs
> are about 1/3000 of the world?s ?value? or GDP.  Who in Paris next month
> will really care?
> Let us not talk here about the difference between price and value, but
> suffice it to say that the World?s decision makers will include many who
> possibly don?t discern the difference.  Why should they care much about
> 1/3000 of the World?s GDP at times of economic pressures?   The question
> changes then to how should we try and make them care?
> Urges for ?better education? and the like are fine, but we have been
> shouting that for decades with insufficient effect (we all applaud those
> colleagues who have been in the forefront of trying).  Most of the other
> excellent points in the Consensus Statement will likely mean much less to
> most of the decision makers we need to reach.  My own take is that value,
> price and money will rule as has been the case so often before, and if so,
> valuations are of great importance.
> I suspect this stated valuation of reefs is very incomplete, given all the
> figures we have surrounding the percentage of biodiversity and productivity
> that occur on them.  The more recent 2014 Costanza values for reefs amount
> to a much increased sum of six-figures per hectare, for reasons that
> Costanza says are: ?? largely due to new studies of the storm protection,
> erosion control, and waste treatment values of these systems.?
> Using these newer values would bring the ?value? of reefs to about thirty
> times greater.  Much better, and this figure, around 1%, would register on
> an accountant?s radar.  Perhaps we as a group might find too many caveats
> to the new figures to agree on a consensus, but it would more likely make a
> difference regionally:  using latest figures I recently valued the
> Persian/Arabian Gulf?s reefs at ?90 billion, which has engendered interest..
> I know that some of us hate the notion of pricing something priceless and
> irreplaceable, but it is not us who run the world, but economists.  Many of
> us know too that there is a lot of opposition by economic, political and
> other vested interests to many aspects of conservation, making things very
> difficult to arrest the continuing declines.  We should remember too that
> not only coral reefs are in decline; so are many other coastal systems, and
> pelagic ones too -  we know all about fisheries, but key groups like
> diatoms are declining at over 1% per year as well.
> We as scientists quite evidently are not making sufficient difference,
> however elegant might be our data and however fluid our prose in the
> journals.  It is evident that we scientists cannot do the job on our own,
> and must recognise this.  We cannot be sure what the Paris COPT meeting
> will produce or, more important, when it will produce results in our
> atmosphere, our oceanic pH and temperatures.  However, based on earlier
> meetings, actions will likely be painfully slow and too late for many more
> of our diminishing coral reefs.
> One of our best tactics is to feed our science to those who can use the
> media better than we can.  Who might that be and who might ISRS engage with
> to do this for us?  Two suggestions would be insurance companies and
> advertisers.  The former realise that climate related hits on their pockets
> are soaring (and they have money!) and the latter can present messages.
> Can ISRS hurriedly form a group to actively investigate how best we can
> use these (and others) to engage and lobby?  We need to outsource this
> soonest, so let us find resources to commission those who can or might be
> able to use our information to arrest the current decline in almost every
> marine habitat.
> Best wishes
> Charles Sheppard
> ------------------------------
> --

·´¯`·.¸. , . .·´¯`·.. ><((((º>`·.¸¸.·´¯`·.¸.·´¯`·...¸><((((º>

Kelley L. Anderson Tagarino, M.Sc.
American Samoa Community College CNR Extension Faculty
University of Hawaii Sea Grant College Program
American Samoa Community College
PO Box 4574
Pago Pago, American Samoa 96799
Office:  1 (684) 699-3353
Cell:  1 (684) 258-2967
"If the biota, in the course of aeons, has built something we like but do
not understand, then who but a fool would discard seemingly useless parts?
To keep every cog and wheel is the first precaution of intelligent
tinkering."  Aldo Leopold

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