[Coral-List] 50 reefs initiative

Grace Phillips grace-87 at hotmail.co.uk
Sat Mar 4 19:21:58 EST 2017

Hi Coral - List,

I have been following the '50 reefs initiative' thread and am finding a lot of the comments on the pros and cons very interesting.

In particular, I am struck by Sarah's comment of "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. ". I also agree with the comments that a large portion of the general public, in particular those that do not rely on the reefs for survival, are unaware of the importance of the reef systems & how daily activities (carbon emissions), even in the middle of a continent, can contribute to the stresses affecting coral reefs.

As such, I just wanted to introduce myself and colleague Lucy Fisher - two marine biologists who have, over the past year, been developing our organisation Reef Guru. Reef Guru is currently working on the development of a diver coral reef restoration program, designed to initiate small-scale reef restoration efforts at dive facilities worldwide. The idea is that by setting up dive facilities with the infrastructure and knowledge (through training their instructors) to conduct small-scale projects, they can offer a scuba course to interested divers which, through the educational materials we are creating, will provide some education on what coral reefs are, their importance, and the threats to reefs. The divers will then get supervised hands-on experience in reef restoration by assisting the trained instructors in the maintenance of the facility's restoration project.

Through experience and conversations with dive facilities in the past, we came to realise that many dive facilities are keen to be involved in reef restoration / conservation efforts but struggle to include the time and resources required for this into their business plans. Our hopes are that through the development of our Reef Guru diver course, we can overcome this obstacle facing dive facilities as they will be able to conduct business as normal whilst maintaining their restoration efforts. We hope that through the course, we can reach out to a sub-set of the general global population from all walks of life (scuba divers) and create within them a deeper connection to the reef and spread the awareness about coral reefs and what can be done as individuals to reduce our impact.

We realise that big-scale conservation efforts, hopefully like the 50 reefs initiative, are definitely in need for the future of our reefs, but we hope that through our more grass-roots approach, we can also make some kind of impact - as Sarah said "not as pretty as they were before, but something functional', or even on just a public awareness and connection-with-the-environment level.

Any thoughts and comments from the coral-list community are very welcome.

Thanks for reading,

Grace Phillips


From: coral-list-bounces at coral.aoml.noaa.gov <coral-list-bounces at coral.aoml..noaa.gov> on behalf of Sarah Frias-Torres <sfrias_torres at hotmail.com>
Sent: 28 February 2017 15:55
To: coral-list at coral.aoml.noaa.gov
Subject: Re: [Coral-List] 50 reefs initiative

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

Grouper Luna<http://grouperluna.wordpress.com/>
Sexy Groupers United


Sarah Frias-Torres - Academia.edu<http://independent.academia.edu/SarahFriasTorres>
Sarah Frias-Torres studies Marine Megafauna, Marine Conservation, and Marine Protected Areas. Dr. Sarah Frias-Torres is a broadly trained, fieldwork oriented marine ...

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