"Thousands have lived without love. No one has lived without water" WB Auden
Human beings we are part of ecosystems. If we want to protect the ocean, we have to work with people. The communities that live by the ocean know very well the benefits of the sea. If we work together we can make a better ocean. I've been collaborating as an associate scientist at Keto Foundation, to pursue communities to get involved in citizen science, specifically doing REEF fish surveys and Reef Check coral reef health assessments. Why? It is true that scientific observations are more accurate and detailed, but funding is limited. It is possible to survey a broader area with less details if we collaborate with communities. Beyond science, there are many other benefts of involving non-scientists. They provide invaluable local knowledge, that complements the scientific knowledge, and helps build better research questions, more connected with the real world. The interaction improves people awareness about ocean conservation issues, increases the level of engagement, and builds an important communication bridge between scientists and stakeholders. Good communication facilitates management and user awareness of the importance of a common resource.
Other organizations that I've worked in the past and I support their work are Mundo Arrecife, and MarViva. MarViva is currently working in marine spatial planning in the Tropical Eastern Pacific, in Panama, Costa Rica and Colombia. Marine spatial planning aims to organize multiple ocean uses (like conservation, fishing, tourism, energy) and aims to maximize the long-term benefit of each one, reducing user-conflicts. The sustainable use of these resources is an inherent principle, and also there are designated areas for conservation, so resources are to be maintained for future generations.
Why are coral reefs important and interesting?