[Coral-List] 50 Reefs Initiative

Nadia Jogee nadiajogee88 at gmail.com
Wed Mar 1 16:59:47 EST 2017

Hi All,

I too am responding due to the ‘Speak Up’ thread. I am an early career
conservationist and therefore often feel intimidated (for good reason) by
the discussions on this thread despite always reading them. So here I am
speaking up.

As for the 50 reefs initiative I must say I’m on the fence. As previously
discussed there are many pros and cons.

I feel strongly that we must accept that the world is changing and we do
not have an infinite supply of resources. Therefore our efforts must be
focused on the areas where they will be most effective. Yet, I can see that
disregarding 90% of our world's reefs seems incredibly pessimistic. These
issues have been discussed in depth in previous responses so I won’t
reiterate what has been said. What I will do is just add a couple of

As well as my academic career I have spent time working in public
aquariums. I feel strongly that in order to make any real conservation
impact we must impress upon the public WHY it is important to protect
ecosystems. Without funding from wealthier countries, countless projects
around the world (and not just coral related) would not be occurring.
However, people need a reason to invest and to lobby their governments into
caring and contributing. Now, I can’t speak for every country, but I feel I
can comment about the British public. People feel disillusioned by hearing
how dire the situation is. They want to hear good news; they like to hear
success stories. Unlike the research community I generally feel the public
won’t think about the other 90%, I may be wrong here, but I think they’ll
hear that we’re saving the ’50 most pristine reefs’ and feel good about
that. Saying we need to save ‘ALL reefs’ sounds like an undoable task, but
the 50 most pristine, ‘well ok, that’s achievable!’ (Especially considering
I once asked a group of 30 university undergrads how many reefs they
thought there were in the world and the average answer was around 50!)
They’ll feel like we’re getting somewhere, rather than constantly telling
them doom and gloom. That I think is a good thing and I think that the 50
Reefs initiative could just be the start of a much wider project. With the
correct public backing it can surely be expanded.

Secondly, I would point out that although I don’t know how exactly they are
going to assess which are the 50 they will be focusing on, I feel that not
all 50 should tick the same boxes. We need a variation. We should choose
reefs that are currently showing no signs of bleaching, but not so
economically important, whilst working with reefs that are being bleached
that are economically important. It would seem foolish and insulting to
ignore the millions of people who rely on reefs that are being damaged
severely. Yet I see it as critical to protect reefs that may act as refugia
for future reefs, even if corals do not expand from those geographical
regions for millennia.

So as I say I’m on the fence with this one, but keen to see how the project
will develop. I also say good luck to the team pursuing this endeavor, any
publicity and conservation efforts is much needed and admired. As a
community we should be supportive of one another, sharing information and
offering constructive advice. Of all the sciences, conservation science is
one of those that can do without the selfish needs to publish first, which
I have seen leads to lack of cooperation. Instead we need to be supportive
of others’ projects as long as we can see some worth and there’s no doubt
that the 50 Reefs project has much.  (Though I appreciate as an early
career conservationist my mortgage doesn’t depend on the pressure to
publish, only my chances of a PhD studentship!)

Best wishes,


Best Wishes,
Nadia Jogee

<https://uk.linkedin.com/in/nadia-jogee-15281240> *

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