[Coral-List] 50 reefs initiative

Sarah Frias-Torres sfrias_torres at hotmail.com
Tue Feb 28 10:55:11 EST 2017

While the "50 reefs" project is important in bringing attention to the need to save coral reefs, reaching a consensus on saving only 10 % of coral reefs worldwide means that we, as a community, say to the stakeholders of the 90 % of coral reefs rejected from the "saving": "We know how important coral reefs are for you (your survival depends on them), but your coral reef has been earmarked for destruction because we have decided it is a loser, and not fancy enough for conservation".

I'm not giving up.

Here's my testimony during the International Coral Reef Symposium in Hawaii, June 2016, at a session titled: "Smart decisions to sustain coral reefs". I think it applies to the "50 reefs" conundrum.

"I learned this from a pediatrician working in poor villages in South America. He said in the emergency room they don’t have the resources to attend all the babies and little children at once. When in a triage situation, they only help the babies that are crying. Because if they are crying, it means they are strong enough, they still have some life in them, that the medical treatment will be useful.

For the babies that don’t cry, there’s no help.

We are now in triage. We cannot save every coral reef through conservation: marine protected areas and other tools. We can only save the coral reefs that are still crying. Crying for help. Because they still hold enough life that the conservation effort will be useful.

What to do with the others? As a coral reef restoration scientist, I ask you: GIVE US THE REJECTS. Give us the dead and the dying. We’ll patch them up. It won’t be as pretty as they were before, but it will be something functional. We won’t take away money from the conservation funding pie. We’ll make the pie bigger. We’ll access new funding. So conservation and restoration will work together. In this way, coral reefs still have a chance at survival."

Sarah Frias-Torres, Ph.D.
Twitter: @GrouperDoc
Blog: http://grouperluna.wordpress.com

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