20___ Thursday. November 11. 1999. The Dally News nlO-'
Our reefs could-help solve
health, economic problems
Oltesw Dais, an ecologis. is a
coNtihcing columnist to eTh Dac l
Roccntdy U.S. Interior Secretary
Buce Babbit and some of his staff
visited S. Croix fo. the hird meeting
on the U.S. Coral ReefTask Forcc
This task lorce was aeiblisaed by
President Cliniot in June, 1993. The
Executive Order dic the CorNa
Reeft Task Force and Ihe ffedtal
govencennt to protect and Impmve
its stewardship and conservation of
coal rier ecosystems tm he cnioni
amd ic ticnlorios.
Coral re are nbmeed lne-
stoc ridges or clusrs hosting a
di ver marine community organ*
ismn. They are among the most bio.
logically complex and diverse
coystemns on earh and an ofl..
compared with tropical ain fomss
for the number of species they sup-
Scieistso estimate that about 10
paccen of the world'a rs have
already been Ist, and 60 percent a
threatened by human activities
including coastal development, soil
erosion overishing. Wandu pro-
ices, climate changes. pollution of
al kind. habiol destruction, de
Whether you rcali.. it or not. our
ilcuist-based economy depends on
bolalhy coral nf ecosystams. mTe
continued deterioaitio of our coral
fby sewage, oil spills, oil meoon
and other human activities will have
a ucmedous impact an the land'
Can you image swimming in
sewage, cadng contaminad fish
swimming in black or brown mocky,
dirty sa waicrt In ict. I would not
advise anyone to swim & ay of our
popular, public beaches in the Virgin
Islands after a iraitorm due to all
kinds of polluum ta nts e pon n
es and o
after the sorm.
Believe me. cw
major hoeh biau
ha c ulnmal,
social impt o
in tbc islands.
Case in poinl
Pond Bay site c
dbdgming occurs in
dismpt how e mm
in the Mef vimm
Pond Bay anna. Sm
bay in dredgoaed,
dredging spoll. dy
decline of mNrinN.
quality -al co
impac on the fishi
Croix in years to came.
The Great Pond Bay coad reefsys.
oins is federally ad locally desig-
knmod as one of Nthe be developed
a irsysie. in the Cibbean stadl
0D"1 mos0 e nive coral cre system in
the Virgin blnds and dm Pualo
Rican s$lf. ThI corald eef yaM of
SL Croix is also "oc of the 18 Areas
of Particular Concern ad Acam of
SPlesenrvaion and Rettontion in the
Vigin islands. This means these
know that mat. b" pcc m namcc e Imc
irmaceuti- Te St Croix bi..iier s syse
s are being has pan scicntl in ms for ahe
from reef varietyorfteflypasandformswhiich
as possi- Ppo- a number of studies tha
aspo hove been carried 10 oNto provide
for cancer, inauable dabi e infonmnaion lor
derrd inhfe- lteue suan.ch
Itls, virus-. Th cf ypa on SL Croix Msi
other dis- *alie "ide ai0ow"i dep -ai.,
bank-banicr clb nmnow- ginag
4. ct s acidpatchieciofiorfiosiacs.
Conal roa su.ppon millions of
species, including 800 species of
haid coral and about 4000 pecis
imeming a Vihrin of lica. Some asciNl caiimnd
could become a about 9 million species livo and
flbr be 21ct lc dependonI allheelk1t.husn.lbio-
diversity of coral ct holds gre
ofcoral es also promise fbr am l produces dived
nvimnminclu and fromn Md dwelling orsgianu.
he IIves of people Do you know thas may phuana-
co ucal produce cre being devl*.
be propoe cockse hoped As fcc eogaissasupiotie
ant at lh Onal cuco It cac.. human bGrss=al
ould impact the inillais, athds, virnosdadohcr.
tR dlnificay. If dias? In loday'sciaOniic world
the bay, this will el ane consoideed td he a major
Aine life fo1ctios sourcc of new medikcinc and bio-
ment a1 th Gtrea chemicals for the 21t ocmtury.
h impact, iflhe Believe me, it iscev.nmciBpor.
would nulc from ant to protect the Virghi Isalds wer
ingof coal ac, synem. You never knc w ff our ca
Uire. poor water ne ecomysmsa migh just be Ibe
d have a a =jo w her a l for udci Nbe taicoily's
industry on St. defoiciL.