Petition to List 83 Species of Corals as Threatened/Endanger

PeterIMA

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Reply to Dr. Kaufman about why these species were proposed for listing (from NOAA Coral List).

Subj: Re: [Coral-List] question about the expanded listing of coral species
Date: 2/23/2010 3:55:16 AM Eastern Standard Time
From: atreece@biologicaldiversity.org
To: coral-list@coral.aoml.noaa.gov
Received from Internet: click here for more information


Hi Les,



The petition authors chose the corals based on three criteria:



(1) species occur within US jurisdiction

(2) IUCN species accounts estimated population reductions of at least 30%
over a 30-year period; they are IUCN-listed as Vulnerable, Endangered, or
Critically Endangered

(3) literature review of threats



With regard to the aquarium hobby, the petition notes harvest of wild coral
- particularly destructive and unregulated or poorly regulated wild harvest
- as a threat to the species. There's no criticism of trade in aquacultured
corals or intent to prevent it. The ESA petition process requires that all
threats to the species be identified. Obviously, some are greater than
others.



Thanks,

Andrea



Andrea A. Treece

Senior Attorney, Oceans Program

Center for Biological Diversity

351 California Street, Suite 600

San Francisco, CA 94104

ph: 415-436-9682 x306 fax: 415-436-9683



Message: 3

Date: Fri, 19 Feb 2010 22:39:39 -0500

From: Les Kaufman <lesk@bu.edu>

Subject: [Coral-List] question about the expanded listing of coral

species

To: coral-list@coral.aoml.noaa.gov

Message-ID: <5D31552B-5B2A-4C58-8ADD-EDE02BF9A578@bu.edu>

Content-Type: text/plain; charset=US-ASCII; format=flowed;
delsp=yes



Hi coral listing aficionados, pro and con.



I looked at the Center for Biodiversity petition for listing 83 (some say
82, I guess counts vary) species of coral under the ESA. I was supportive
of the Caribbean Acropora spp. listing but this time I'm a bit puzzled.



How were these particular species arrived at? I might have just missed it,
but certain species that really are of serious concern didn't seem to be
there- for example, Agaricia tenuifolia, or a host of regional endemics that
might have made more logical first-ups for such a list.



Also, I am just wondering- what are the intended effects on the aquarium
hobby and trade? The intention of adding some legal teeth to the fight for
350 ppm I can understand, but to worry about over- collection of live corals
for the aquarium trade- or more importantly, trade of aquacultured corals-
in the same breath, while we have this

immense global problem as first priority, is peculiar. It's been

demonstrated in a few places that collecting of corals for the aquarium
trade can be conducted in a sustainable manner, and having more coral reef
fans in the world could hardly be a bad thing if they were suitably engaged
in the larger battle.



Les





Les Kaufman

Professor of Biology

Boston University Marine Program

and

Senior PI

Marine Management Area Science

Conservation International
 

PeterIMA

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Subj: Re: [Coral-List] ESA Listing for 82 corals
Date: 2/23/2010 3:52:27 AM Eastern Standard Time
From: walt@waltsmith.com
To: kokovitz@msn.com, coral-list@coral.aoml.noaa.gov
Received from Internet: click here for more information


Hi All,
I had a hunch that one of my managers in Fiji responded to this post. When I
asked him if this was the case he sent me this response. I would like to
share with you for consideration.

Hi Walt,
Kind of spooky. Sounds like me. Even likes to leave a nominal carbon
footprint like me. Although I admit to various "nom de plumes", this is not
one of them. You and I both know there are people in this world that object
to our existence without knowing anything about the trade. I have come
across this time and time again. As you have. Certain tour operators are
among those that generally hate us at this end. A very old saying is that
"people fear what they do not understand". We have borne the brunt of many
an accusation simply because we have "direct contact" with the reef.
Therefore we must be at fault. As opposed to the lumber industry that would
deforest a hill miles away resulting in runoff that kills a reef larger than
what the trade has removed in it's entire history. Or a sugar mill as I have
seen in Fiji. Of course I'm preaching to the choir here. You know all that.
As do all of us in the know. I fear that one day wild corals will no longer
be permitted. The moment they were listed on CITES as Appendix 2 was the
beginning of an eventual demise. Why this happened I cannot say. I have
heard time and time again that the corals reef is the largest organism on
earth and can be seen from space (eg, Great Barrier Reef). Yet it is listed
as endangered. It is not the aquarium trade that will result in the demise
of the reefs. But climate change and other man made impacts to the planet.
CITES is like some big environmental roach motel. You can check in but you
can't check out. Clams are a perfect example. Indigenous islanders nearly
wiped out giant clams in their respective countries for food. Mariculture
has resulted in more clams that nature can produce. Yet even the cultured
ones remain as CITES 2. It makes no sense. Because once you are listed on
CITES you are there for life. And USFWS has become the US Gestapo arm of
CITES and seems to have jumped on the bandwagon of those who oppose the
trade.
Then of course there's the scapegoat ideology. Blame the aquarium trade
to misdirect those who would otherwise look at larger culprits such as
lumber, oil and numerous other larger, richer, greedier, entities that
destroy reefs "indirectly?" on a massive scale.
Perhaps you should have been a politician or lobbyist. The opposition
seems to have better ones than we do. That's really what it comes down to.
He who screams the loudest. Like the crowd choosing Barabbas over Jesus
prior to his crucifixion.

----- Original Message -----
From: "vitz vitz" <kokovitz@msn.com>
To: <coral-list@coral.aoml.noaa.gov>
Sent: Saturday, February 20, 2010 2:38 PM
Subject: Re: [Coral-List] ESA Listing for 82 corals
 

PeterIMA

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Some very good comments about the ESA proposal for 83 species of corals
made by Eric Borneman on Coral List today (February 24, 2010).
Peter Rubec

Hi Andrea and Les,

Les, you wrote...

>>How were these particular species arrived at? I might have just
missed it, but certain species that really are of serious concern
didn't seem to be there- for example, Agaricia tenuifolia, or a host
of regional endemics that might have made more logical first-ups for
such a list.

Also, I am just wondering- what are the intended effects on the
aquarium hobby and trade? The intention of adding some legal teeth to
the fight for 350 ppm I can understand, but to worry about over-
collection of live corals for the aquarium trade- or more importantly,
trade of aquacultured corals- in the same breath, while we have this
immense global problem as first priority, is peculiar. <<

I couldn't agree more. In reviewing the list and then making comments, I
wondered the same thing. I think there is more than ample evidence that some of
these species should be considered for listing, but others that met the same
threats and implied criteria were not on the proposed list. Some of the species
truly are more sensitive to bleaching, COTS, disease, etc., but are so wildly
abundant across a large range (a range that for many species is far outside
areas of aquarium collection) that I questioned why those species and not others
were chosen. Many of the species' range also extend to areas of least human
impact (oceanic central Pacific), even if some of their range is under heavy
stress, leaving essentially the big global issues (bleaching, acification) as
the principle threats. In this sense, it becomes difficult not to argue that
all species should be on the list.

Some of the species proposed are among those with high tolerance to suboptimal
environments (i.e sedimentation tolerance) or to other stresses that were
included as reasons for listing others on the list, but apparently not given
points for being tolerant. As such, I found myself weighing each proposed
species not only against my field observations, but also relatively among those
on the list rather than relatively across all species in the proposed range of
US waters. It seemed as though the threats/stresses were used only "points for
listing in negative terms without consideration for the positive in terms of
resilience, abundance, genetic diversity, recruitment potential, range, habitat
provided (or other ecosystem function), degree to which they contribute to
framework or degree of threat throughout their range. In some cases, life
history traits (i.e. brooding) were used as factor supporting listing of some
species because of dispersal limitation, but brooders are doing
very well in areas where broadcast spawners aren't, and some of the most
successful, tolerant and wide-ranging species are indeed brooders.

It seems in reading the proposed list that the direct and/or local anthropogenic
stresses of aquarium collection was used or mentioned disproportionately to
other (and likely more important) direct local and/or anthropogenic stresses.
The Fed Reg notice nor the petition was clear on any weighting that would be
rather essential in compiling a list since not all threats are equivalent in
terms of posing a threat to a species, especially in light of potential ESA
listing. In terms of the aquarium trade, it is unfortunate for two reasons
beyond those you already made; 1) there are not sufficient data to substantiate
the actual threat to the species from the aquarium trade (and indeed several
species of most concern from the aquarium trade are not on the list, but are
found in US waters and are subject to the same habitat loss, and just about
every other threat that was listed for those that are included) and 2) even with
the data that do exist, aquarium collection - while indeed
a potential threat - pales by comparison with the amount of corals destroyed
by blast fishing, yet this very common and massively destructive practice is
limited to a single sentence as being important to only one region, and not to
regions where it is very common - regions of the coral triangle where the
impact on biodiversity is much greater. This is besides the fact that the
literature and data used to assess the trade was limited, dated, and in some
cases just factually wrong. We have essentially no data on Rhizopsammia, yet it
is traded and in high demand and is not listed. Nemenzophyllia has been in trade
for 30 years, is thought rare, and almost no information exists on the genus,
and it is not on the list. The use of aquarium trade data as a threat important
enough to be included as one that warrants ESA listing in this petition is
dubious or poorly applied, at best. Acropora aculeus is common in the central
Indo-Pacific facing the least threats, yet aquarium coll
ection is listed as a threat justifying in part an ESA listing where it is less
common in collection areas. Finally, trade data from CITES only requires genus
level identification. Any attempts to use species level quota data or even
reported data on the many "impossible-to-distinguish while live" species in
genera like Acropora, Montipora, Porites, etc. compounds determining the actual
amount of threat that collection plays in many of the petitioned species.

Finally, there were numerous species that are highly susceptible to bleaching,
sedimentation and other major stresses and/or with limited range (depth, or
habitat or geographically) that I was sure would be on the proposed list, but
weren't. In summary, there were some very valid species in need of enhanced
protection, and the ESA may be the way to do this. In other cases, I just didn't
agree with the rationale, that the existing literature would indicate that other
species petitioned may not be ideal for ESA protection or any more deserving
than listing all tropical scleractinia.

Furthermore, it seems odd that one of the essential criteria was that the
species occurred in US waters, but the petition used International (IUCN)
criteria when there are numerous endemic and indeed extremely imperiled species
that are not in US waters but could, theoretically, be traded. If the threats of
this petition include trade that would be hopefully curbed and enforceable under
the ESA or Lacey Act, then it would seem logical to include species outside US
waters (example, the trade in Rhinoceros products versus the trade in Brazil's
Mussismillia were it to be listed).

As Doug Fenner wrote on this list in 2004 "Local extinctions can be a microcosm
of global extinction (using Millepora boschmai and S. glynni as coral examples).
Local extinction of bumphead parrotfish on some islands in Fiji by spearfishing
has been documented. Further, there are many species on reefs that are endemic
or restricted to small areas. Those species can be particularly vulnerable to
extinctions." Numerous coral species fit in this category, including endemics,
but were excluded from the petition (e.g Montipora cryptus, M. taiwanensis, M
hemispherica, M kellyi, M spongiosa, M pachytuberculata, M echinata, M
aspergillus, in the genus Montipora alone) while many many more endemic to areas
where coral collection is highest (e.g Indonesia) are not on the list.

Andrea, when you say no intent to impact aquacultured corals, do you mean ex
situ or in situ culture, because if the latter, there is currently no legal
exemption language for mariculture - they are wild corals that have been
fragmented and in some collection areas accounts for a large percentage of the
total export. There are other issues, as well (see for example Bruckner 2001,
Blundell and Mascia 2005, Nijman 2009).

Eric

__________________________
Eric Borneman
Dept. of Biology and Biochemistry
University of Houston
 

dizzy

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What Eric doesn't seem to understand is that Andrea and her ilk are simply environmental ambulance chasers.
 

PeterIMA

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Subj: Re: [Coral-List] question about the expanded listing of coral species
Date: 2/26/2010 8:02:20 AM Eastern Standard Time
From: eshinn@marine.usf.edu
To: coral-list@coral.aoml.noaa.gov
Received from Internet: click here for more information

>My concerns about the CBDs proposed threatened coral species action
>certainly created some interest among list readers. I had hoped
>that by discussing this issue someone would come forward and explain
>how the listing would save those species when listing of Acropora
>appeared to have done little. Like Eric Borneman, I wanted to know
>who and how the species were selected. What I heard through the
>list responses was that "it would make people aware of the problem."
>Unfortunately that will not save any corals since they are not being
>collected or molested in any significant way. There really is no
>action that would change Caribbean-wide diseases and water quality
>issues in the short term. What worries me the most is that the
>Florida Keys are already a marine sanctuary that protects all
>species of corals including those that are not included in the 82
>species. Will having NMFS list them save those in Florida? Maybe
>they are directing this listing outside of Florida? I think we are
>all aware that If Co2 emissions were to cease tomorrow it might
>take about 50 years before atmospheric and sea water levels returned
>to pre industrial levels. If that's what is killing them (we really
>do not know what is killing them in the Caribbean) then they would
>already be dead by then.
>What we have heard from the CBD attorney on the list was a simply a
>legal explaination of their action. There was no suggestion as to
>how NMFS can save corals from storms, and a region wide
>disease/water quality problem. I did a little checking and found
>that the CBD has been very successful in badgering governments and
>using our tax money to do so. During its 20-year exisence CBD has
>won close to 90 percent of its 500 cases! For more see the book
>"Eco Barons: The Dreamers, Schemers and Millionaires Who Are Saving
>Our Planet." I asked the question earlier, "where do they get their
>funding" A little investigation revealed a lot. Here is a quote from
>Budd-Falen Law Offices of Cheyenne, Wyoming document, "Just between
>Arizona, California, the District of Columbia, Georgia, New Mexico,
>and Washington, the CBD has amassed $6,709,467 in attorneys fees all
>paid by the taxpayers. That's a pretty good business. I will send
>the full statement to those who request it. For more about the
>attorneys and who makes CBD tick go to
><http://www.tucsoncitizen.com/daily/opinion/113415.php> and finally
>for a lot of fun go to this site
><http://www.endangeredspeciescondoms.com/> and learn about CBD birth
>control devices. I can't wait to order my Staghorn package. Gene PS:
>The tucsoncitizen website has been removed since I read it yesterday.
>--
>
>
>
>No Rocks, No Water, No Ecosystem (EAS)
>------------------------------------ -----------------------------------
>E. A. Shinn, Courtesy Professor
>University of South Florida
>Marine Science Center (room 204)
--


--


No Rocks, No Water, No Ecosystem (EAS)
------------------------------------ -----------------------------------
E. A. Shinn, Courtesy Professor
University of South Florida
Marine Science Center (room 204)
140 Seventh Avenue South
St. Petersburg, FL 33701
<eshinn@marine.usf.edu>
Tel 727 553-1158----------------------------------
-----------------------------------
 

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Subj: Re: [Coral-List] question about the expanded listing of coral species
Date: 2/26/2010 8:01:38 AM Eastern Standard Time
From: Sarah.Heberling@noaa.gov
To: coral-list@coral.aoml.noaa.gov
Received from Internet: click here for more information


Eric, Les, Concerned Parties --

The questions and comments you raise in your post are *exactly* why NMFS
is conducting a status review of all species for which the petitioned
action may be warranted. Status reviews are comprehensive assessments
of a species' biological status and its threats, and are the basis for
making determinations as to whether a species warrants listing under the
U.S. Endangered Species Act. Thus, status reviews show us the whole
picture of a species' status, including whether or not trade or
commercial harvest are the primary contributors to a species decline
(which for many species may not be the case, according to many of the
Coral-list postings).

To assist us in making sure that the points brought up in your post and
others' are captured in our species status reviews, *please* provide
your two cents on the data available for any of the 82 species here:
http://www.regulations.gov/search/Regs/ ... 6480a90b1f.
 

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In a message dated 2/26/2010 8:00:11 AM Eastern Standard Time, jcervino@whoi.edu writes:
Subj: [Coral-List] CORALS FOR SALE?
Date:2/26/2010 8:00:11 AM Eastern Standard Time
From:jcervino@whoi.edu
To:coral-list@coral.aoml.noaa.gov
Received from Internet:



Dear Eric-

I want to express my deepest apologies, for any grammatical errors in my recent
post. This is the result of a quick emotional response from your very long
posting on the coral-list advocating the continued sale or importation of wild
collected corals from regions in the tropics subjected to or not subjected to
stress in a global warming/acidification world. I will comment under you’re
your unsubstantiated ecological view points and confusing paraphrased
definitions below:

Borneman wrote: 1) there are not sufficient data to substantiate the actual
threat to the species from the aquarium trade (and indeed several species of
most concern from the aquarium trade are not on the list, but are found in US
waters and are subject to the same habitat loss, and just about every other
threat that was listed for those that are included) and

James: Where do you get your information from ? Can you prove otherwise? Maybe
you should print this hypothesis on your “Coralmania” website for your fans to
use at coral swap meets, which can help justify the clear-cutting of coral
rain-forests that is happening across the tropics. I must say that your website
has the most exquisite photos of living corals kept in Aquaria I have ever seen.
I look at these images and say to myself: “what a vision of stunning beauty”
that should be kept on the reef. Why not ONLY resort to the farming of corals
for sale ? Why do we need to collect corals and interrupt the energy cascade
associated with the interconnected marine organisms living within a wild reef
system?

Borneman wrote: 2) even with the data that do exist, aquarium collection - while
indeed a potential threat - pales by comparison with the amount of
corals destroyed by blast fishing, yet this very common and massively
destructive practice is limited to a single sentence as being important to only
one region, and not to regions where it is very common - regions of the coral
triangle where the impact on biodiversity is much greater.

James: You have acknowledged that global warming and acidification are a global
threat that is having a sever impact on corals, along with blast fishing in the
tropics. Also, the references you site put fourth a grim picture for the future
of reefs. Therefore, how can you say that the hundreds of thousands of
imported corals pose only a “potential threat” ! You simply look at corals as an
economic resource for the trade business, and we coral physiologists look at
corals as a free economic resource in terms of biodiversity, fish and other
critters nursery habitat, shoreline protection and a gene bank for the last
remaining natural wonders left on this planet.

In conclusion Mr. Borneman; please advocate the protection of wild collected
corals and engage in the selling of farm collected corals only, as one coral
colony removed or deforested from the reef is one too many. I am sure that
the collection of one 6-10 cm coral fragment taken from it’s niche on the reef
will displace another significant invertebrate species, segmented worm or other
interconnected organisms that flow into the energy trophic cascade within a
reef system. You simply don’t get it. You are brilliant at coral husbandry and
have an amazing eye for capturing the true morphological responses and character
of symbiotic corals, which is why it is so difficult for me to see how you could
advocate the removal of one coral colony from an Indo-Pacific Reef, given the
state of the worlds corals from an environmental perspective.

James
 

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Subj: Re: [Coral-List] question about the expanded listing of coral species
Date: 2/26/2010 7:59:34 AM Eastern Standard Time
From: eborneman@uh.edu
To: jcervino@whoi.edu
CC: coral-list@coral.aoml.noaa.gov
Received from Internet: click here for more information


James,

> As far as, what would be a more important coral stress to combat in some sort of
> attention stress order is strange.

I'm not even sure what this means, James. Do I believe that some stresses/threats are greater in some areas than others, and may need proportionately more resources devoted to them in those areas? Absolutely. I'm not very concerned about riverine discharge in the Maldives but coral mining is a concern.

> If you or others think its peculiar to address the "coral death camps" like the
> selling factories in Key Largo FL, called shell-man, coral world as well as the
> thousands and thousands of live colonies stuffed in plastic bags for the
> aquarium " living-room table trade" ...... you simply cannot remain biased, to
> be able be to address this problem , due to yourself being a coral hobby
> aquarium advocate. Please take a trip to the Shell Man and see what goes on as
> the image below shows the stacks of corals in shelves inside and outside of
> this factory.

I'm trying hard to make grammatical sense of this, but I think I have it translated.

Not only do I NOT support places like you describe, nor consider it peculiar to address them (and do know of Shell Man in Key Largo and many similar places in Florida spanning some 30 years), I also do not support collection of wild corals for the aquarium trade (having listed just a few species of concern by collection in my previous post that were not petitioned), abhor destructive collection methods, and am also not a coral hobby aquarium advocate as you mistakenly describe, despite my involvement. My works and contributions related to the aquarium trade (and outside trade issues) should make it quite obvious that I put conservation first. I have provided and presented on unsuitable species for the marine aquarium trade, corallivorous microparasites and the potential of invasion from the marine ornamental trade, and development of sustainable harvest regimes for Indonesia and other countries.

Do you recognize this proposed presentation below for the MOC conference in Hawaii? I was unable to attend that event as I was in the field. Did you ever wind up presenting it?

Borneman, EH and Cervino, JM. 2000. Corals collected from indigenous ecosystems for the aquarium hobby trade: should there be a ban on the importation of corals for this trade? Marine Ornamentals Conference, Hawaii, Abstracts.

I do support sustainable managed, preferably captive bred or cultured species for the ornamental trade and reform of the trade through legislation, enforcement and market based initiatives. Your claim that I cannot remain biased (I think you meant unbiased?), because I am involved in aquarium trade issues (almost exclusively in terms of reform, rather than support) is like saying that you can't be involved in discussions involving YBD because you have published your results of YBD and are therefore biased. Or for any researcher in his or her own area(s) of expertise.

Despite your dramatic use of the term "coral death camps," may I put things in perspective? Based on an interview resulting from the paper Nijman (2009) An overview of international wildlife trade from Southeast Asia. Biodivers Conserv online first. DOI 10.1007/s10531-009-9758-4

"Vincent Nijman, a researcher at Oxford Brookes University who has investigated the trade, said: "We see species that are in fashion traded in great numbers until they are wiped out and people can't get them any more. So another one comes in, and then that is wiped out, and then another comes in."He added: "In Asia, everybody knows the value of wildlife, so people go into the forest and, whatever they encounter, they know it has a value and that there is someone they can sell it to."

He analysed 53,000 records of imports and exports from countries under CITES, the international convention that regulates the sale of wildlife. .... Nijman looked at species considered vulnerable enough that trade is allowed, but controlled. "I'm not against the wildlife trade at all. I think it is a very important economic driver for a large part of the region and a lot of people are dependent on it," he said. "But it has to be done in such a way that you don't finish it all this year. It's not like oil, where you drill it out and then it's gone. If you organise and regulate it properly, it should go on forever."

Eric

__________________________
Eric Borneman
Dept. of Biology and Biochemistry
University of Houston
 
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We need to liberate all the corals from the death camps! :roll:
 

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Subj: [Coral-List] expanded listing of coral species
Date: 3/1/2010 7:04:01 PM Eastern Standard Time
From: eshinn@marine.usf.edu
To: coral-list@coral.aoml.noaa.gov
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Martin Moe, I was a little hasty with my comment that there is little
we can do to save Acropora or the 82 species now being pushed
forward for ESA listing. As you know my basic concern has been the
futility of regulating something when we don't know what to regulate.
I had forgotten about your basically self-funded (with some help
from state sources) research into culturing and raising Diadema. We
who have spent a lot of time in the water all know that Diadema kept
the reefs clear of turf algae before 1983. Growth of algae
accelerated and corals, Caribbean-wide, began to decline much more
rapidly after the original crash of 1983-1984. I commend you and Ken
Nedimyer for taking it upon your selves to do the experimentation
that is showing positive results. I fear that what may happen is that
other coral scientists will ramp-up the questioning of t"he ethics
of this manipulative research and resort to increasing esoteric
sophistry such as bottom up or top down concerns." Such questioning
can thwart innovation and delay funding for important work if we
continue to "talk it to death." Fortunately you knew that so you went
ahead with the work anyway.
Acropora was put on the threatened list and critical habitat
areas were created. These actions alone have not led to a comeback of
Acropora. Laws will not make coral grow! The money and effort would
have been better spent supporting the kind of work you are doing if
for no better reason than to increase our knowledge of the coral
ecosystem.
I would hope that those pushing for listing of the additional 82
species would take heed and put some real money into the kind of
innovative research you have been doing. Instead what we see over and
over on the list are advertisements for coral and marine management
jobs. We need more of the kind of hands-on research you two are doing
and less time sitting in air conditioned offices manipulating data on
computers and dreaming up new activities to regulate. Gene

--


No Rocks, No Water, No Ecosystem (EAS)
------------------------------------ -----------------------------------
E. A. Shinn, Courtesy Professor
University of South Florida
Marine Science Center (room 204)
140 Seventh Avenue South
St. Petersburg, FL 33701
<eshinn@marine.usf.edu>
Tel 727 553-1158----------------------------------
-----------------------------------
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Subj: Re: [Coral-List] question about the expanded listing of coral species
Date: 3/1/2010 6:53:42 PM Eastern Standard Time
From: dave@fuzzo.com
To: coral-list@coral.aoml.noaa.gov
Received from Internet: click here for more information


I find Gene's response somewhat illogical and incredibly mean-spirited.
I learned early on when I worked on an environmental issue in
Louisiana that a people can have a variety of motives for working
together on a cause -- no matter how diverse their motivations, it was
pretty clear they cared about the issue. We welcomed their help,
whether they were hikers from the Sierra Club, birdwatchers from the
National Audubon Society, or hunters from Ducks Unlimited or the
National Rifle Association. They joined the cause because they found
common ground -- and helped make our effort more successful than most of
us imagined.

I think it's disgraceful to question the motives of the CBD as Gene has
done here. One certainly doesn't get the impression they do anything
nefarious from the Tucson Citizen article he cited. The article is a
review of Edward Humes's book, "Eco-Barons." Note what the reviewer said:

"But Humes saves some of his most lavish praise for our homegrown Center
for Biological Diversity.

....

"Humes notes that during its 20-year existence, the center has won close
to 90 percent of its 500 cases - an unprecedented success rate in
environmental law.

"The George W. Bush administration didn't like listing species as
endangered. But almost every one of the 87 listed during the Bush years
was protected because the Tucson-based center 'used the courts to force
the issue,' Humes writes.

"And that is how the Center for Biological Diversity works: by forcing
the government to abide by every letter of environmental law -
especially the Endangered Species Act.

....

"It was the center that forced Bush 'to concede, after six years of
resolute denial, that there really is such a thing as global warming and
that it is killing (among other species) the polar bear,' Humes writes.

"And that's an impressive accomplishment for a bunch of people working
in a Tucson warehouse."

Hmmm. The CBD has won nearly 90 percent of its cases? Gene seems to
think its a scandal, but it would seem to me they generally have the
center has the law on its side. What's so scandalous about that?

As for the condoms, it is silly, but the condom campaign highlights a
very real problem -- growing human population strains the environmental
support system that makes human life possible. I don't know when we'll
hit our carrying capacity (and find out how sound some of Malthus's
ideas are), but if we don't find a way to stem our reproductive output,
we will hit it someday. I don't think any of us would like to live in
that world.

Personally, I'd rather see our population controlled by us making
informed, voluntary choices on the r-side of the population growth
equation than have the choice made for us by involuntary and potentially
catastrophic forces on the K-side of the equation.

Finally, we have Gene's logic problem. You list a species in order to
gain the legal authority to do what you can to save a species or a group
of species. No one can protect against storms, meteorite impacts, or
other "acts of God," so to speak, but we may be able to do something
about climate change (if we act sooner than later), recreational
impacts, commercial fishing impacts, land use changes, etc., etc., etc.

An unforeseen disease could have wiped out the bald eagle when it was
first listed decades ago. Would it have made sense to argue against
listing it just because we couldn't protect it against all threats such
as epidemics? No. What about the brown pelican? No. The American
alligator? No. The timber wolf? No.

Does it make sense to argue against protecting the coral species in
question because we can't protect them against everything? Well, if you
want to remain logically consistent with past public policy, the only
answer is no. If you want to be logical, period, the answer remains no.

Dave

On 2/25/2010 12:23 PM, Eugene Shinn wrote:
>>
>> My concerns about the CBDs proposed threatened coral species action
>> certainly created some interest among list readers. I had hoped
>> that by discussing this issue someone would come forward and explain
>> how the listing would save those species when listing of Acropora
>> appeared to have done little. Like Eric Borneman, I wanted to know
>> who and how the species were selected. What I heard through the
>> list responses was that "it would make people aware of the problem."
>> Unfortunately that will not save any corals since they are not being
>> collected or molested in any significant way. There really is no
>> action that would change Caribbean-wide diseases and water quality
>> issues in the short term. What worries me the most is that the
>> Florida Keys are already a marine sanctuary that protects all
>> species of corals including those that are not included in the 82
>> species. Will having NMFS list them save those in Florida? Maybe
>> they are directing this listing outside of Florida? I think we are
>> all aware that If Co2 emissions were to cease tomorrow it might
>> take about 50 years before atmospheric and sea water levels returned
>> to pre industrial levels. If that's what is killing them (we really
>> do not know what is killing them in the Caribbean) then they would
>> already be dead by then.
>> What we have heard from the CBD attorney on the list was a simply a
>> legal explaination of their action. There was no suggestion as to
>> how NMFS can save corals from storms, and a region wide
>> disease/water quality problem. I did a little checking and found
>> that the CBD has been very successful in badgering governments and
>> using our tax money to do so. During its 20-year exisence CBD has
>> wone close to 90 percent of its 500 cases! For more see the book
>> "Eco Barons: The Dreamers, Schemers and Millionaires Who Are Saving
>> Our Planet." I asked the question earlier, "where do they get their
>> funding" A little investigation revealed a lot. Here is a quote from
>> Budd-Falen Law Offices of Cheyenne, Wyoming document, "Just between
>> Arizona, California, the District of Columbia, Georgia, New Mexico,
>> and Washington, the CBD has amassed $6,709,467 in attorneys fees all
>> paid by the taxpayers. That's a pretty good business. I will send
>> the full statement to those who request it. For more about the
>> attorneys and who makes CBD tick go to
>> <http://www.tucsoncitizen.com/daily/opinion/113415.php> and finally
>> for a lot of fun go to this site
>> <http://www.endangeredspeciescondoms.com/> and learn about CBD birth
>> control devices. I can't wait to order my Staghorn package. Gene PS:
>> The tucsoncitizen website has been removed since I read it yesterday.
>> --
>>
>>
>>
>> No Rocks, No Water, No Ecosystem (EAS)
>> ------------------------------------ -----------------------------------
>> E. A. Shinn, Courtesy Professor
>> University of South Florida
>> Marine Science Center (room 204)
>> 140 Seventh Avenue South
>> St. Petersburg, FL 33701
>> <eshinn@marine.usf.edu>
>> Tel 727 553-1158----------------------------------
>> -----------------------------------
>
>

--
------------------------------------------------------
David M. Lawrence | Home: (804) 559-9786
7471 Brook Way Court | Fax: (804) 559-9787
Mechanicsville, VA 23111 | Email: dave@fuzzo.com
USA | http: http://fuzzo.com
------------------------------------------------------
 

PeterIMA

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Subj: Re: [Coral-List] The infamous 82 corals and what members of Coral-List ought
Date: 3/3/2010 5:58:01 PM Eastern Standard Time
From: atreece@biologicaldiversity.org
To: coral-list@coral.aoml.noaa.gov
CC: lesk@bu.edu
Received from Internet: click here for more information


Hi, Les et al.,

Thanks for the helpful comments and questions a number of you have raised.
Les is 100% right that any effort to protect corals under the Endangered
Species Act (or any other way, for that matter) has to be based on the best
available science. Recognizing that, I'll echo Sarah's suggestion that
coral experts submit comments on the petition. Your expertise can help
identify and prioritize threats for particular species, identify species we
missed, identify areas where we can build on existing research or
conservation efforts, etc.

I'm offering the following explanation in the hopes that it clarifies what
the petition aims to accomplish - please bear with me on the legalese.
CBD's strategy with respect to listing coral species basically boils down to
establishing a strong legal hook to gain better protective measures for
corals. The most far-reaching provision of the ESA is Section 7, which
requires federal agencies to consult with NMFS regarding the effects of
projects they authorize, fund, or carry out on listed species and their
critical habitat. For example, when the Army Corps wants to undertake a
dredging project that may affect a listed species, be it a coral or manatee
or sea turtle, they have to get NMFS's biological opinion on whether that
project would jeopardize the species or harm its critical habitat. If NMFS
determines that it will, the project may be allowed to proceed with
modifications to avoid unsustainable impacts. If not, the opinion still
generally provides for some monitoring of the situation and triggers for
"reconsultation" if the project turns out to have more severe impacts than
anticipated. The opinion also generally contains an authorized incidental
take level - i.e. how many of a species may be lawfully taken without
causing jeopardy.

In the coral context, the Section 7 consultation requirement should provide
a better handle for considering and decreasing a number of impacts on coral.
For example, water pollution permits or dredging permits in areas where
listed corals are found will have to account for the sensitivity of these
coral species. That should result in more stringent permits, better water
quality, and mitigation. Similarly, permits for construction of docks or
sea walls, or fishery management plans that may affect corals, would need to
account for any impacts to listed corals. Addressing local threats in this
way should - we hope - increase the corals' resilience in response to larger
threats like climate change and ocean acidification.



With regard to addressing climate change and acidification more directly,
this is admittedly a new frontier. I'd say the best mechanism for
regulating greenhouse gas emissions would be the Clean Air Act or strong new
legislation directly aimed at GHG emissions. That said, the ESA
consultation requirement could be extended to require major greenhouse gas
emitting projects that need a federal permit also need to first analyze the
impacts to corals. This could result in emissions reductions or other
measures that help conserve corals. Whether or not a particular project
would be subject to any consultation or mitigation requirements (in the GHG
context or any other) depends on whether the best available science shows
that it will affect or harm the species.


I do want to point out that all of this does not necessarily require a bunch
of lawsuits. If an agency or private entity doesn't comply with the ESA
(e.g., decides to dredge up a bunch of coral without a valid take permit),
the law allows citizens to enforce it with a lawsuit. Ideally, though, the
consultation process is a careful, science-based process that provides
whatever protection is needed from project impacts without the need for
lawsuits.



Finally, we believe that ESA-listing for corals is only one part of a suite
of conservation measures that are needed to protect corals. It's not meant
to take the place of local, on-the-ground restoration projects and certainly
not meant as a substitute for further research. As I mentioned before, we
believe listing could actually help direct more resources to those sorts of
direct conservation projects, much as it has for other listed species like
sea turtles. At the end of the day, our ability to protect corals under the
law depends directly on how well we understand them and their environment.


Thanks again for your interest.

Andrea





_____

From: Les Kaufman [mailto:lesk@bu.edu]
Sent: Saturday, February 27, 2010 10:54 AM
To: coral-list@coral.aoml.noaa.gov
Cc: atreece@biologicaldiversity.org; sbergman@biologicaldiversity.org;
rbraz@biologicaldiversity.org; tcurry@biologicaldiversity.org;
ngreenwald@biologicaldiversity.org; ckilduff@biologicaldiversity.org;
jmiller@biologicaldiversity.org; miyoko@biologicaldiversity.org;
rsilver@biologicaldiversity.org; ksuckling@biologicaldiversity.org
Subject: The infamous 82 corals and what members of Coral-List ought to be
doing about them



Dear Martin, Gene, and everyone,



Regarding the 82 corals: there are basically three things that members of
this community can do relevant to brightening the future for coral reefs and
people.



1. We can put energy into policy to fight and adapt to climate change.

2. We can put energy into policy that harmonizes local human activities with
coral reef health and resilience.

3. We can do the science that is the guidance system and provides
accountability for the policies enacted in pursuit of #1 and #2.



All three are required, in synchrony.



Diplomats and lawyers ride point on #1.

Conservationists and lawyers are shotgun on #2.

Scientists (no lawyers, please!) are responsible for #3, plus they ought to
learn how to talk good.



The Center for Biological Diversity is strong in law. Obviously, there was
a logic that listing a bunch of corals that live in US waters would provide
legal handles to move peoples' behavior toward doing things good for coral
reefs. It might channel good outcomes through #1, but can definitely do so
through #2. So the aim was off a bit, so it's a funky list borrowed from a
different (IUCN) exercise; maybe CBD figures with a nuclear device you don't
need precision aim, though you'd better be ready for collateral damage, both
to the ESA and to relationships between scientists and activists.



Oh wait I forgot, Martin wanted this to be a car, not a war. Okay, so we
can make sure the car runs and handles well so we keep it from crashing into
a brick wall. In other words, we can encourage excellent watershed and
marine resource management, maximizing coral reef resilience. Threatening
to sue people if they screw up the watershed or the health of functionally
key species is one way to do this. I'm not so sure we should be
discouraging CBD from following this route, even if it takes a moment's
thought to see the logic of it.



So: can we help CBD identify the flashpoints that will ignite if the 82
species are listed? What would be the coherent legal strategy to drag the
US by this one handle into an era of coral reef renaissance?

What scientific ammunition would be needed to make this work?



If we know the rules of the game, and the strategy is an impressive one, why
not play on the winning team?



I think CBD should explain its complete stratey to this group and enlist the
support of whoever happens to agree. The rest can choose a different number
or handle.



Les
 

clarionreef

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Andy
You make a lot of sense of course. You always do.
I read a lot of forums as well as the NOAA one.
Frankly, they are often a poorer read then some of the aquarium forums. There is an incredible naivite among many empiracists.

I see an innocence that reveals little sense of how to weave science into socio-economic and political reality in order to become more effective. That is if becoming effective is even the point.
Sometimes ....as in the recent "coral chronicles" there is a stark contrast between scientific intelligence and intellectual integrity. I mean, ya take some smart guys...add a dash of pop, anecdotal nonsense together with some heresay.... and some small, selective evidence ....throw in a rash gossip and some utter nonsense about " the US Customs Service" and voila, a prejudice is embedded into science.

I mean, the social conclusions are often made with a far less "discipline" then their scientific ones....
Judgement....environmental judgement comes from where? Inspired by what?
How about how to deal with hundreds of thousands of poor fisherfolk living near our precious coral reefs?? Huh?
Claiming credibility and expertise from credentials in the department that gives one a degree clearly does not make for credibility and expertise in the next one over....especially in the non scientific arena.

Scientific intelligence without intellectual integrity and life experience is a poor basis to manage society. Increasingly, scientific intelligence led around by the nose with a funding ring attached to the nose may become the antithesis of science. Scientific truth has been bent since Aristotle was threatened with heresy for not selecting his truths more in accordance with the church.
Today, we see many moderating their philosophies and procedures to fit the fashionable funding trends of orgs with cash.... Bad orgs sometimes? Yes...but today bad means ...lack of funding, not lack of merit or ideals.

One just has to be more then one demensional to pretend to know whats best for society and unfortunately many of our scientific brethren have become more like lawyers then like ..well scientists.
A good lawyer can argue both sides of a case; even if one is the guilty side .....and so can good scientists nowdays can't they?

I was once warned by the renowned Canadian Icthyologist Dr. Don Mcallister not to hold scientists to some standard higher then the rest of society....because I did that. Now I know what he ment.
 

PeterIMA

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Steve, I have to agree that just because one may have a Ph.D. does not make a scientist an authority on everything. Coral reef scientists may be experts on some topic like coral reef diseases. However, that does not make them experts on socio-economics or social science. Even the social scientists I have met (mostly Americans) seem to be out of touch with the problems faced by poor fishers in countries like the Philippines and Indonesia.

One scientist, Dr. James Cervino seems to fall into the category listed above (expert on coral diseases). But, he has been taking extreme positions (like everyone tied to the aquarium trade is a reef raper). His latest attacks have been off of the Coral list. Vince (formerly a regular on RDO Industry Behind the Hobby) has been maligned by Cervino as being responsible for everything that Cervino "believes"is wrong with the aquarium trade and coral reefs. The aquarium trade is blamed for reef destruction, while other factors like climate change, siltation from deforestation etc are ignored. Having also been "flamed" by Cervino offline for a rather benign posting on the Coral List (like I am the one destroying coral reefs-Moi?), I tend to sympathize with Vitz's position (he works in a pet store and has never imported anything directly).In other words, Cervino has stepped out of his box (area of expertise) and paints anyone even remotely associated with the trade as THE BAD GUYS responsible for everything wrong with the trade and coral reefs.


On more general terms, the Petition by the Center for Biological Diversity appears to me to be aimed at the aquarium trade (e.g., the trade is being blamed for the depletion and/or destruction of 83 species of corals). I have yet to see the evidence for this. Cervino makes the assertion that many rare species are being depleted in a serial manner by the aquarium trade. It is a fact that hobbyists demand many new and rare species of corals that are being harvested from Indonesian reefs. Often, there is localized damage to the reefs from harvesting corals. But whether there is serial depletion of rare and presumably colorful species, I do not know.


EASTI's position is that corals should be farmed on lease sites (TURFs) in the country of origin. Wild harvest should be limited to the collection of parent colonies for culture on coral farms run by community-based cooperatives/associations. The trade in turn may have to stop demanding rare species of corals that cannot be cultured on coral farms. When I advocated this on Coral LIst about a year ago, I was flamed by Cervino off line (personal emails). However, I think it is a position that most members of the scientific and management communities in the USA and other countries would be willing to support.The trade needs to develop positions concerning these issues and present them to the US Coral Reef Task Force.

Peter Rubec, Ph.D.
East Asian Seas and Terrestrial Initiatives
 

clarionreef

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Peter,
I agree with you and would like to add that the experience I spoke of is a synonym for observation ...and observation is the initial step in the scientific process.
Scientists used to observe first and shoot later.
Now it seems to catch a quick, often non representative glimpse, a google search, a test to see which way the wind is blowing and then an "informed opinion" is er formed.
Credentials in one area are passed off as ceredentials all around which is the opposite of accuracy.

Of course the hundreds of thousands of fisherfolk observers are not consulted by a foreign city person who may well create the definition of the reality in the way described ....that we then play off of.
I hope Easti uses the wealth of information the locals often have but are not asked about in the formation of a better picture and opinion.

...an opinion better crafted then that of some of the amatuers from the NOAA list that sometimes use their college degrees to get into areas that they know little about.
Clearly, the pot shots at the aquarium trade are way, way out of proportion to the prevalence of its impact. The fact of coral collection in say Fiji is yammered on without reference to the fact that a good, solid 90% of Fiji never even sees a collecting boat.
How much of the Atlantic ever saw a coral collecting boat? [ hint, its very close to 0% ].
This suggests a predjudice and/or a cowardice that is unbecoming in the very people we depend upon to render vital data on which to base judgement, opinion and law.
 

PeterIMA

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Despite your dramatic use of the term "coral death camps," may I put things in perspective? Based on an interview resulting from the paper Nijman (2009) An overview of international wildlife trade from Southeast Asia. Biodivers Conserv online first. DOI 10.1007/s10531-009-9758-4

"Vincent Nijman, a researcher at Oxford Brookes University who has investigated the trade, said: "We see species that are in fashion traded in great numbers until they are wiped out and people can't get them any more. So another one comes in, and then that is wiped out, and then another comes in."He added: "In Asia, everybody knows the value of wildlife, so people go into the forest and, whatever they encounter, they know it has a value and that there is someone they can sell it to."

I downloaded the paper by Nijman cited by Dr. Cervino. I had assumed the quotations (above) were taken from a paper by Nijman (2009) and that they pertained to the depletion of corals. I just read the paper, after downloading it off the web. I did not find the quotations (above) cited by Dr. Cervino supposedly taken from the paper by Nijman (2009). No evidence was presented in the Nijman paper to indicate that rare species of corals are being over-collected and depleted (my mistaken assumption based on Cevino's misleading quotations).

Sincerely,
Peter Rubec, Ph.D.
East Asian Seas and Terrestrial Initiatives
 

spawner

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Peter, search Nature News. His paper was on Nature News a day before my recent paper was, I think that might be where that quote came from but I'm not sure.

Just an observation, FEDs are not exactly pleased to have groups taking all of their limited resources by submitting request for ESA listing such as the one in question. Seems that its far too easy to get a general finding and require millions of dollars of relocation of limited resources. People seem to be using ESA listing to attempt to deal with issues that other groups/agencies have failed to resolve. It's a shame to burden organizations in this manner.
 

PeterIMA

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Spawner, I would agree that it looks like the Center for Marine Biodivesity (CMB) is using the existing regulation tied to ESA that might better be dealt with under CITES. It looks to me like the ESA listing of the 83 species of corals will make it very difficult to import the species of corals from both within the USA (e.g., from Guam or Marshall Islands to mainland USA) and also from other countries. This can be enforced by USFWS at ports of entry. It would also make the trade for these corals within the USA illegal (for the 83 species in question). This may be much more difficult to enforce. Hobbyists and/or retailers could be charged when someone finds that their "Purple People Eater" which that they sold to their local pet store is actually a prohibited species under the ESA (assuming someone comes into the store and IDs the species).

The problem with CITES is that the exporting countries (like Indonesia and Vietnam) would need to agree to ban the export of these or other species of concern. It may be difficult to get the exporting countries to agree (even if the species is threatened with overexploitatoin in their country). Hence, it looks to me like the CMB is using US law (ESA) to deal with a trade issue that is international and should be dealt with through CITES (provided the species is threatened/endangered in another country).

While there may be parts of the federal government that object to the CMB tying up the US legal system and putting an unfair financial burden on NOAA, there are other scientists (some within NOAA) that probably support this petition, because of the lack of cooperation by other countries with regard to CITES. A case in point was the unsuccesful effort to list the Banggai Cardinalfish under CITES Appendix II.

Peter
 
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Purple People Eaters up until recently has been a name solely for Palythoa sp. of which are not listed on the "82" list and are also not a CITES animal Peter :)
 

PeterIMA

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Gresham, Good to see you know what a Purple People Eater is. I did not (until you posted). My use of the name was not because it was or was not on the 83 species list. It was meant to indicate that many species of corals are being sold under weird common names. Hence, many retailers and/or hobbyists may not know the scientific name of the corals they purchase. If the US government passes laws against certain species (like the 83 species under review) many stores and hobbyists may find they are violating the law (because they do not know what species they possess).

Peter
 


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